TMJ is specifically caused by defects in the jaw joint. While impacted wisdom teeth can cause TMJ disorders by placing excessive stress on the jaw, this is a pretty rare cause of TMJ disorder. That condition is much more likely to be due to muscle strains, malocclusions or damage to the jaw.

Wisdom teeth or third molars are the last teeth to appear in an adult’s lifetime. They generally erupt when a person is 17–21 years old. While doctors do not directly link wisdom teeth with TMJ disorders, if a wisdom tooth is infected or growing, it can cause some overlapping symptoms

The temporomandibular joint, also known as a TMJ connects your jawbone to your skull. There is one of these joints on each side of a human jaw. TMJ disorders are a type of temporomandibular ailment (TMD) and these can cause pain in your face, jaw joint, and muscles which control jaw movement. Further issues that stem from TMJ disorder are lock jaw, headaches, and migraines.

Even though the likelihood of impacted wisdom teeth causing TMJ disorder is low, there are other problems that can result when the large third molars attempt to erupt into a jaw that doesn’t have enough space for them. Impacted wisdom teeth are more likely to develop cysts or tumors, and they can cause teeth to shift out of the correct alignment as they continue to exert pressure on the smile. It is also tremendously difficult to keep the rearmost portion of the jaw clean, so impacted wisdom teeth are more susceptible to infections and abscesses as well.

The precise cause of a patient’s TMJ disorder is tough to determine, however Nojan Bakhtiari and his TMJ medical team assess a patient’s condition and in turn, determine the best route of treatment.

Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari is a board-certified TMJ and Oral Facial Pain specialist. He focuses his practice on TMJ disorders, oral pain, facial pain and associated headaches. He treats patients in New York City. His practive is convenintly located in midtown Manhattan by Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park.

Dr. Nojan shares his in-depth knowledge of TMJ and facial pain as professor at Columbia University and Columbia University’s Medical Center. He is one of very few diplomates of the American Board of Orofacial Pain and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain.

As an expert in the field, he has been invited to lecture at New York University, New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, New York State Dental Association, and numerous dental societies and conferences.

Dr. Nojan was in charge of the Orofacial Pain and TMJ Disorders service at Yale-New Haven from 2015-2020. He is a past professor of Orofacial Pain & TMJ at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, where he led the clinical service and academic curricula for the entire university and residency programs.