I had all 4 wisdom teeth and one lower tooth removed 1.5 years ago.
I'm 37 female and the wisdom teeth were causing me huge discomfort and made my teeth crooked.

Even though it's been 1.5 years, I have pain (sometimes excruciating) pain only on my right side where the extractions were also jaw/joint pain.  It can be unbearable to the point where I think I'm dying. It usually happens when I eat.

I don't have dental insurance anymore and last time I went the dentist (I don't think she likes me) refused to give me an antibiotic or any rx for my concerns. She just gave me an expensive quote for more dental work.

Is it normal to have such extreme pain after so long?

Thank you for your time,


Hi Sandra,

It is common for people who have had wisdom teeth extractions to experience discomfort and pain.  Now, just because it is common or "normal" does not mean you should have to endure pain for an extended length of time.  You will have treatment options.

The later in life you have your wisdom teeth extracted, the more risk there is for complications or jaw pain.

What probably happened is that the removal of your wisdom teeth has upset your bite, and the symmetry within your facial muscles.  The jaw pain you describe, sounds like it could be TMJ.....Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder. You mention pain when eating.  Do you also have pain when talking?  Does your tongue rest comfortably in your mouth, in the same way it did before your wisdom teeth extraction?

As I said, you will have treatment options.  You need to seek out a board certified dentist whose PRIMARY work is the treatment of TMJ.  All dentists will claim they have treated TMJ and can treat you.  But that's not good enough.  You want a dentist that works with TMJ patients on a daily basis.  A TMJ Specialist.

One of the likely things your dentist will do is to make a night guard appliance for your teeth that you will wear when sleeping. This appliance acts as a buffer to prevent teeth grinding and can give your jaw a much needed opportunity to relax and prevent further wear and tear on your jaw joints.

Any dentist can take molds of your teeth, send them off to a lab, and then put a night guard appliance in your mouth. That's no trick.  The hard part is not ordering the lab to produce a night guard.  The part that really takes skill is the fitting and tailoring of that night guard just right, so that it feels comfortable for you.  Even for the best dentists this is hard to do, so that's why I emphasis finding someone that does a lot of this kind of work.  It is very rare that this could be accomplished in one office visit.  It could take several visits of making adjustments to get it just right.  If it does not feel right, don't be afraid to speak up.

Some suggestions.  First, do your research in finding the right dentist for the job.  Believe it or not, TMJ is very common.  Ask your friends, and other people you know if they have gone to a TMJ specialist. Get recommendations. Try getting in the habit of sleeping on your back.  The correct sleeping posture can do wonders for the pain you are experiencing.  There is also a book I bought last year that I thought was great...."The TMJ Healing Plan" by Cynthia Peterson.  There is an electronic version of it that you can read on your Kindle or iPad.  I ordered mine through Amazon.

Oh, and one more thing....I paid $900 for my night guard.  That included the appliance, office visit and follow-up visits, etc.

Sandra....good luck and please check back with me and let me know how you did.

Best Regards,
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Jonathan at PatientBabble


My area of expertise from the patients point of view would be TMJ plus the speech challenges that these jaw and bite problems sometimes represent. Over the years I have seen a multitude of dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, speech therapists, neurologists and other health professionals who all had an opinion about my bite problem. I am not a doctor, but would purely be a patients point of view type person. I "get it" when people say they tried to explain to their dentist what their bite problem is and that they are misunderstood. I can listen to people's trials and tribulations and there is a good chance I have been down that road before. I can make suggestions as to what people can do at home, or what questions to ask their doctor or dentist when they visit. ////// I come from a family of dentists. My first house growing up was one of those residential/dentist combination homes and I was around the dental practice all the time. My teeth had always been perfect, and in many respects they still are. I have never had a cavity and my teeth are straight. About 25 years ago, I had my wisdom teeth out and since then my bite has never felt "normal." I have learned a lot over the years as I tried to figure out my problem from the Dentists, Speech Pathologists and assorted doctors that I have visited. I will try and recall information or experiences that may be helpful to you.


Twenty-Five years ago after my wisdom teeth were removed, my bite did not feel right and then had trouble speaking. For whatever reason, the first sensation I remember was not that my bite was off.....but rather that my normal tongue and speech patterns had been impeded. The years of searching for proper treatment has underscored the importance of understanding the relationship between dental and speech methodologies.///// To this end, and to further my research, I recently attended the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention (ASHA) in Atlanta. At ASHA I learned about a specialty within Speech Pathology termed “Orofacial Myology”. In laymen's terms Orofacial Myology Disorder (OMD) deals with the establishment of correct functional activities of the tongue, lips and jaw. OMD is a motor speech disorder that impacts the normal flow of speech, chewing or swallowing.///// If you believe that your struggles with your teeth also present speech, chewing or swallowing challenges, you may want to seek out a licensed Speech Language Pathologist.....preferably one that has training with Orofacial Myology Disorder.

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Abridged Version of a Letter I Sent to a Health Care Professional (3/14/13): "..In my early 20's I had my wisdom teeth out. Almost immediately within a few days, something did not feel right in my mouth. I had trouble speaking. When I raised my tongue to try and touch my palate, I felt mostly just teeth. It is very cumbersome to talk and my bite also became a little bit off. If feels almost as if someone put a fork in my mouth and said "now try and speak." Very difficult. My articulation is fine, so to an observer I sound normal. But it takes a monumental effort, so I hate situations like talking on the phone or when somebody asks me to "tell them a story." ..I spent years going to different dentists, who lumped me into their generic version of what they knew about TMJ. They just automatically gravitate to what they have heard about TMJ and assume I am either stressed, or just imagining it. Years later, I look back at all those dentists and doctors and I am amazed at how little they really knew about my condition. I have seen the best dentists, including my dad who is a Orthodontist in New York, to TMJ Dentists in Atlanta and Florida. No one ever suggested that Speech Pathology may be a direction I should explore. ..And I was frustrated by the fact that several MRI's over the years, showed nothing. How could the MRI’s show nothing, and at the same time, I know something does not feel right? I do wear a night guard to sleep in, but it does not fix the trouble that I have when I try to talk. ..I went with a Speech Pathologist friend of mine to the American Speech Language Hearing (ASHA) Convention last October in Atlanta...There was a Speech Pathologist at ASHA who was saying that sometimes when you have your Wisdom Teeth taken out "late" that it could possibly cause damage to the Trigeminal Nerve and surrounding muscles.” POSTSCRIPT: At ASHA, I discovered OROFACIAL MYOLOGY (OMD) which is a specialty in Speech Pathology that addresses Oral Muscular Issues.

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