If you have a headache after wisdom teeth extraction, does this mean that the removal of the wisdom teeth caused the headache?

Headaches have many potential causes. So it’s natural to wonder if recent surgery on your mouth might be a possible culprit.

Can a headache be caused by
the removal of wisdom teeth?

“It’s the other way around, actually,” says Dr. Haissam Dahan, DMD, MSc, PhD, lecturer at Harvard and McGill University and owner of Ottawa TMJ & Sleep Apnea Clinic.

Dr. Dahan explains, “Having infected wisdom teeth can cause headaches, but removing wisdom teeth usually stops the headaches (if they are related to the wisdom teeth).”

If you can’t figure out what’s causing the headache that didn’t start up until after you had your wisdom teeth taken out, it’s possible that it was generated from the position that your head was in during the procedure.

A strained or tensed-up muscle in the neck might be radiating pain towards the head.

Another possible cause is dehydration. Have you been drinking water at all on the day of the extraction? If not, fill up. Not enough water can cause a headache.

Finally, the stressing out over the procedure can cause a tension headache.

The discomfort in your head can also have any number of other causes such as a sinus infection, nasal polyp and migraine disorder.

But there is nothing intrinsic about the surgical removal of wisdom teeth that causes a headache.

Just be sure that you faithfully follow the post-procedure instructions for proper recovery, including dietary instructions.

Common side effects from wisdom teeth extraction do not include headaches. They do include:

  • Dry socket – a blood clot in the tooth socket, which is what you’re supposed to have for healing, becomes dislodged or fails to develop at all.
  • Nerve injury – can be temporary or permanent and cause numbness or tingling.
  • Infection – signs include fever, yellow or white discharge from the extraction site, plus pain and swelling.
  • bleeding
Dr. Dahan is a general dentist with a focus on TMJ disorder, facial pain, snoring and sleep apnea management.