While your ear and jaw are distinct parts of the body, they are close in proximity. And this may be the main reason why you might sometimes experience toothache and ear pain simultaneously.
A medical problem in your mouth, jaw, or ear can cause pain, or you could experience tooth and ear pain because of referred pain, which essentially means that a part of your body may feel pain although the source of pain is elsewhere.
In this article, we’ll discuss what could be the causes of toothache and ear pain on the same side.
Causes of Toothache and Ear Pain
Several conditions may cause toothache and ear pain at the same time. This is often because of the proximity of the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) or jaw joint to the ear. And, if you have an infected or decayed tooth, the pain from the tooth can radiate to the ear, and you can feel it there.
On the other hand, a toothache may be a sign of ear pain, where you may experience symptoms associated with flu or cold. This section will discuss the various causes of toothache and ear pain in depth.
Pain in your jaw and ear may be related to the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), which includes the jaw joint, as well as the muscles around it. A TMJ disorder can cause inflammation and pain in the TMJ, which in turn can cause jaw and ear pain, the most common symptoms of the condition.
TMJ problems may also cause eye pain, headaches, and sinus pressure. TMJ pain can be caused by several factors and conditions such as teeth or jaw alignment problems, bruxism (grinding the teeth), muscle injuries, and arthritis.
A bacterial build-up in the teeth and gums can cause dental problems such as cavities, abscesses, and periodontal disease. These dental issues can cause damage to your teeth and mouth, and if left untreated for a long time, they can cause toothache and ear pain. Sometimes, a tooth injury can also cause tooth and ear pain.
Grinding your teeth, known as bruxism, can cause many problems, from TMJ disorder to damaging your teeth, impacting the alignment of your teeth, causing teeth to wear, straining your jaw muscles, and jaw or ear pain.
If you suffer from allergies or have a cold, this can cause your sinuses to become irritated and inflamed. The sinus inflammation can cause pressure against your inner ear and roots of the teeth, mimicking ear pain or toothache.
Osteoarthritis affecting the TMJ can cause pain in your jaw and ear. Over time, the cartilage around the TMJ joint may wear, resulting in joint stiffness and pain. TMJ pain can also be caused by autoimmune conditions such as psoriatic or rheumatoid arthritis that may cause sporadic flare-ups, joint stiffness, and pain.
You can experience acute pain in your ear, behind or around it, because of an ear infection, and sometimes the pain can radiate to your teeth, jaw, or sinuses. Ear infections are mostly caused by bacteria or viruses.
They can also be caused by an ear injury or water exposure while swimming (causing swimmer’s ear). If untreated, it can lead to jaw and ear pain.
Treatment for Toothache and Ear Pain
The treatment for tooth and ear pain varies depending on the cause. If the pain is persistent, it is good to consult your dentist, who will determine the cause of the same by performing a thorough examination and taking an X-ray to rule out a TMJ disorder or any dental infections.
Any dental condition may require treatments such as deep cleaning, a root canal procedure, or tooth removal. However, if the pain is not related to TMJ or your teeth, it could be sinusitis, an ear infection, or arthritis. You may have to consult your medical practitioner, who can treat you accordingly.
Home Remedies for Toothache and Ear Pain
If the toothache and ear pain are because of inflammation, you can take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen that can be purchased over-the-counter. Further, applying a cold or warm compress to the side of your face where you’re feeling pain can relieve discomfort.
If you’re experiencing pain because of bruxism, then apart from wearing a mouth guard or bite splint, you can prevent pain by physical therapy, mindfulness exercises, massage therapy, and meditation.
If you suffer from allergies, which cause sinus inflammation, you can take allergy medications, antihistamines, or use any other preventative methods after consulting your doctor. In addition, prevent tooth infections, cavities and abscesses by maintaining good oral hygiene and following a healthy diet to prevent bacterial build-up in the mouth.
In conclusion, as we have discussed in the article, there are several reasons why you may be experiencing tooth and ear pain on the same side. So, if you’re having persistent pain that seems to be worsening, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor, who can determine the cause of the pain and treat it before it gets worse.