Ask an expert

23 Sep 2006

Headaches and facial pain
Hi doctor, I am 52 years of age and my teeth had all been extracted when I was 22 years old. I am getting headaches very too often and severe. It is most in my face and around my jaws. Can you tell me if my wisdom teeth were also removed by 22 years of age? Are they fully grown by 22? I am treated for sinus infections and had a sinus operation as well but nothing seems to help. How can I know?
I get pain around my ears and it feels like in my jaw up to the front of my face and no pain tablet seems to help.
Answer 443 views
Headache expert
headache expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear Sussie,

Headaches and facial pain are most often caused by muscle tension affecting the muscles of the head and neck. The ear pain can also definitely be referred pain from the jaw muscles. With regard to the wisdom teeth, one cannot tell without an x-ray, as they may be buried in the jaw bone.

Taking pills is not the way to treat the problem – you have to be properly diagnosed, as although it sounds as though muscle tension is the most likely cause, one cannot be sure without a definite diagnosis.

To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.