Does your pain in the ear and jaw occur over and over again? Are you worried about the meaning of these symptoms? Ear and jaw pain can indicate several conditions. Focusing on these signs and symptoms alone is not enough for the doctor to make a diagnosis. Your dentist might be able to help in case the pain in your ear and jaw is due to teeth grinding.
Ear and Jaw Pain
A medical condition in your ear, jaw, or mouth can cause the pain, or you may also encounter pain in the ear and jaw because of referred agony. This condition occurs when a portion of your body experiences pain, although the pain’s root is coming from somewhere else.
Pain in the ear and jaw can go from a minor ache to extreme pain. Many conditions can cause ear and jaw pain, such as injuries, infections, and joint problems.
It can be challenging for a doctor to identify the reason based on these indications alone, considering risk factors and recent history. For instance, an individual who has not been to the dentist in several years and has a toothache history may have a cavity.
Below are some conditions that can cause pain in your ear and jaw at the same time.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
Problems in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can cause pain in the ear and jaw. This part incorporates the jaw joint as well as the muscles surrounding it.
The temporomandibular joint is next to the temporal bone, which incorporates your internal ear. The TMJ does a ton of work, shifting in numerous headings so you can bite and talk.
Pain in the ear and jaw may happen from a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD). There is 10 to 15 percent of grown-ups who can encounter this condition. These problems cause inflammation and agony in your temporomandibular joint. Facial discomfort and ear pain are the most familiar complaints of TMJ disorder. You may possess a chronic TMJ dysfunction if you encounter side effects for more than three months.
You may get a TMJ disorder from wear and tear or due to another health condition. Sometimes, your doctor may presume a TMJ problem. However, you may have a different condition like:
- sleep apnea
Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, can cause ear and jaw pain. In case you grind your teeth, you may end up with a temporomandibular joint disorder. This condition can:
- strain your muscles
- break down your temporomandibular joint
- erode your teeth
- influence the way your teeth align
Furthermore, you may grind your teeth around evening time and not even be aware of it until pain or another indication occurs.
Osteoarthritis is the most usual type of arthritis in the temporomandibular joint and can bring pain to your ear and jaw. This ailment happens because of wear and tear over time to the cartilage encompassing the joint. You may also encounter pain and stiffness in the joint.
Rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis
This type of arthritis develops from the attacks of your immune system to healthy joints. Rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis are both distinguished as autoimmune conditions.
You may encounter joint agony throughout your body on various occasions, together with your TMJ, and some factors may make the pain flare-up.
This condition can cause you to experience pain in your ear and jaw. Sinusitis can develop if you have an allergy or colds and your nasal ways become aggravated and inflamed. Generally, the virus creates the infection, but you can likewise get bacterial sinusitis.
Pain in the jaw and ears close to the temporomandibular joint may trigger a headache. Migraine attacks are extreme headaches that can re-happen. They can bring sensitivity to light, smell, and sound.
Once the bacteria gather and grow on your teeth and gums, it can result in periodontal disease, cavities, and tooth abscesses. These dental problems can bring destruction to your mouth, especially whenever left untreated. They can prompt jaw and ear discomfort.
Your physician will administer a physical exam to start the diagnosis about the pain in your jaw and ear. He or she may also get some information about your medical history to discover more about your symptoms. Ensure to mention:
- recent dental surgical procedures
- changes to your mental health such as stress, anxiety, or depression
After that, your doctor will:
- check your vital signs
- look in your ears
- listen to your jaw
- touch your jaw and around your face
- check your mouth
You may require an X-ray, MRI, or another imaging test to verify the condition.
Treating ear and jaw pain at home is safe when it is not because of a hidden infection or a severe injury. You can try to follow these several home remedies.
- Rest wearing a mouth guard to abstain from teeth grinding. Various types of a mouth guard are accessible for purchase on the web. In case the mouthguard helps yet does not fix the indications, an individual may require a custom mouthguard from a dentist.
- It is advisable to apply ice or warmth to the injury, which can alleviate the pain and advance healing.
- Softly massage the jaw to decrease muscle strain.
- Try a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Try stretching the muscle under the ear down to the collar bone by tilting the ear toward the shoulder. Then, hold it for 5–10 seconds. Do this stretching on the opposite side.
- Exercise the jaw muscles by opening the mouth and sticking out the lower jaw. Hold that position for 5–10 seconds. Then, try pushing the teeth forward and back and from one side to another in a round movement.
The treatment can vary depending on the cause of your ear and jaw pain. Patients with TMJ problems may not look for treatment because some cases resolve all alone, and simply 5 to 10 percent of cases require treatment. Therapeutic care for a TMJ disorder can incorporate:
- home remedies
- resting your jaw
- getting over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines
- using a splint or brace to limit jaw movement
- flushing your joint to decrease irritation
- a surgical procedure, in severe condition
Various reasons for ear and joint pain may incorporate comparative treatments. A few conditions like arthritis and sinusitis may contain prescribed medicines.
Your doctor may offer nasal sprays for sinusitis and some anti-inflammatories for arthritis, among other treatment alternatives.
Oral problems such as periodontal disease, cavities, and dental abscesses may involve a root canal treatment, tooth extraction, or deep cleaning, in addition to other treatment techniques.