The Connections Between Ears Teeth And Jaw
Issues with the temporomandibular joint affect the ears and jaw because it is a connection point between the ears and jaw. It ties the skull to the lower jaw, located next to the ear.
Disorders in this region often result in ear pain and hearing loss. In such cases, pain in the ear indicates a dental problem.
What Is Ear Pain
Earache is one of the most common reasons we take our children to see their healthcare provider or we seek help for our own painful ears. Earaches can be a symptom of ear infections or a sign of an underlying condition. Rarely, an earache or ear pain is a sign of a serious illness. Treatment depends on the cause.
Pharmacy First Scotland: Earache Treatment From Your Pharmacy
If you have earache you can get advice and treatment directly from a pharmacy. Find your local pharmacy on Scotland’s Service Directory.
Earache isn’t usually serious and can be treated by a pharmacist. Your pharmacist may recommend that you contact your GP practice if required.
You should only contact your GP or local out-of-hours service if:
- you or your child also have other symptoms, such as a high temperature , vomiting, a severe sore throat, hearing loss, swelling around the ear, or discharge from the ear
- there is something stuck in your or your child’s ear
- the earache doesn’t improve within a few days
Don’t Miss: Antibiotics For Ingrown Hair Infection
Why Can An Ear Hurt From A Toothache
Jaw, tooth, and ear pain is part of the trigeminal system. In short, this system is a three-pronged sensory nerve that encapsulates the head and face, providing sensory input for touch, pain, and temperature.
The largest nerve system in the body, the trigeminal system is responsible for sensation in several structures in the body, including the ears, eyes, nose, mouth and meninges. Researchers note that the fear and angst associated with orofacial pain from this specific nerve is likely a cause of dentist phobia.
Inversely, a toothache may accompany an ear or sinus infection because of the proximity of teeth to sinuses. The back top teeth are located right below the sinuses. When those sinus cavities become infected or inflamed, the pressure can radiate pain within the mouth.
When To See The Dentist
Ideally, you should go to the dentist every six months to a year on average for preventive dental care, including a check-up and dental cleaning according to the American Dental Association . If you have ongoing oral health problems or have a higher risk for periodontal disease or underlying medical problems, like heart disease or diabetes, Dr. Darj may recommend more frequent visits.
But emergencies happen and some dental problems require immediate attention. Pain is usually the main sign that somethings wrong, so you shouldnt wait more than a day or two to schedule an appointment if the pain persists.
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Signs of infection, like pus, blisters, or sores on the gums or inside your mouth
- Changes to your bite
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a toothache or an earache, so its important not to ignore your symptoms to ensure that you get timely and accurate treatment. If you have an infection, you may need prescription medication to clear it up.
In the case of tooth decay or gum disease, the earlier you get treatment the better. Waiting too long can make your symptoms worse, and increase your risk of permanent damage or even tooth loss.
If youre experiencing pain or other symptoms of an oral health problem, dont wait to get help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Darj at our office in El Paso, Texas.
You Might Also Enjoy…
Also Check: Does Keflex Treat Sinus Infection
How To Diagnose Ome In Adults
To effectively diagnose OME, you must, of course, first pay a visit to your doctor. They must then determine whether fluid has accumulated in your ear, which they will most likely achieve by looking in your ears with an otoscope. This can also be achieved electronically, via the use of an acoustic reflectometer, or a tympanogram. You may also undergo an examination of the back of your nose , to ensure that there are no physical obstructions within the nasal opening of the Eustachian tube.
You May Like: How Bad Does A Kidney Infection Hurt
What Are The Symptoms Of Tooth Infection
You may only experience toothache and sensitivity in the early stages of a dental infection. However, it will go away if you take any pain medication.
If the underlying problem is not treated in a timely fashion, the infection can lead to the formation of a tooth abscess. According to the National Health Service, an abscess is a pus-filled cavity that forms around infected teeth, gums, or the bone that supports our teeth. Dental abscesses are not only painful, but they indicate a severe infection that should not be overlooked. According to the American Dental Association, some of the symptoms of a tooth infection include:
- Swelling and redness of the face on the side of the affected tooth
- Severe, throbbing pain in the affected tooth
- The pain may also radiate towards the ears, jaws or neck on the same side
- Tender and mobile teeth
- Shiny, red, and swollen gums
- Pus discharge from the affected tooth
- Bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Difficulty in chewing or opening mouth
You May Like: Yeast Infection Vs Uti Vs Bv
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have earaches, here are some questions you may have:
- What caused my earache?
- Is my earache a sign of an underlying condition?
- How do you treat the problem?
- How can I prevent earaches?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Most of us will have an earache at some point in our lives. Earaches and ear infections are the most common reasons for childrens visits to their healthcare providers. Adults develop earaches for everyday reasons such as barotrauma from flying in an airplane to having temporomandibular joint syndrome. You may be tempted to ignore your aching ears simply because earaches are a common problem. But left untreated, earaches can become increasingly painful. More than that, earaches may be a sign of underlying medical conditions that could be serious. Talk to your healthcare provider about your ear health any time youre concerned about earaches.
Check If Its An Ear Infection
The symptoms of an ear infection usually start quickly and include:
- discharge running out of the ear
- a feeling of pressure or fullness inside the ear
- itching and irritation in and around the ear
- scaly skin in and around the ear
Young children and babies with an ear infection may also:
- rub or pull their ear
- not react to some sounds
- be irritable or restless
- be off their food
- keep losing their balance
Most ear infections clear up within 3 days, although sometimes symptoms can last up to a week.
If you, or your child, have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
|Inner ear infection|
|Usually affects adults aged 45 to 75|
|Caused by viral or bacterial infections||Caused by viruses like colds and flu||Caused by something irritating the ear canal, such as eczema, water or wearing earplugs|
|Affects parts of the inner ear like the labyrinth and vestibular system, and can lead to labyrinthitis||Affects the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose||Affects the ear canal|
Don’t Miss: Antibiotics Given For Kidney Infection
Can Dental Problems Cause Ear Painby Andrew Mortensen Dds On March 21 2019
The ears, nose, and throat are connected through a delicate network of tubes, canals, and passageways. That is one reason why diagnosing a problem in any one of those three areas often requires an examination of the others.
Ear pain can result from dental problems. Dr. Andrew Mortensen understands the connection between ear pain and oral health. Here, we discuss dental problems that can cause ear pain. We also offer a range of restorative dentistry services at our Fountain Valley, CA practice.
How Is A Middle
Your health care provider will take a medical history and do a physicalexam. He or she will look at the outer ear and eardrum with an otoscope.The otoscope is a lighted tool that lets your provider see inside the ear.A pneumatic otoscope blows a puff of air into the ear to check how wellyour eardrum moves. If you eardrum doesnt move well, it may mean you havefluid behind it.
Your provider may also do a test called tympanometry. This test tells howwell the middle ear is working. It can find any changes in pressure in themiddle ear. Your provider may test your hearing with a tuning fork.
Also Check: Can You Get A Yeast Infection After A Uti
How An Earache Can Indicate A Dental Problem
Depending on the cause and intensity, the pain and tenderness from an infected or decayed tooth can extend beyond the tooth and feel like a headache or earache. In fact, many common dental and oral health problems can result in symptoms, like ear pain. A dental exam is necessary to determine the cause of your symptoms, so you should schedule an appointment if your pain intensifies or lasts for more than a few days. Our dentist Dr. Mehrnoosh Darj offers cosmetic and general dentistry services in El Paso, Texas and surrounding areas for all your oral health care needs.
How To Differentiate A Toothache From An Earache
Inevitably, there is crossover between the symptoms of a toothache and those from an earache. However, there are some defining differences between pain from a tooth or the jaw and pain caused by an earache or sinus blockage:
- Headaches suggest a toothache. While not a guarantee, tooth and ear pain alongside a headache generally indicates a tooth problem, likely a cavity or other tooth decay.
- Cold or flu symptoms suggest sinus infection. Ear and tooth pain alongside symptoms thought to be from a cold or the flu could be signs of a sinus infection or an earache.
- Consider past history. Those who have chronic ear infections are more likely to be dealing with an ear infection. Likewise, those who have experienced toothaches as the result of dental work, decay, or infection should contact their dentist.
Read Also: How To Drain Out Water From Ear
Also Check: Ear Infection And Neck Pain
Serious Ear Pain After Your Root Canal Indicates That Treatment Has Failed
If you are experiencing serious pain and discomfort near your ear and your treated tooth after your root canal, chances are that your root canal treatment has failed. This indicates that the pulp and root canal of your tooth may not have been cleaned properly. If your tooth is not completely disinfected, the infection can continue to attack your tooth structure.
Itâs also possible that there is a crack or damage to the filling or crown that was used to restore and protect your tooth. This could lead to re-infection and decay of the root canal site.
Contact us right away for an oral exam and to get endodontic retreatment to eliminate the infection. If you suspect your root canal treatment has failed and you need a second opinion or want a different dentist to treat you, Dr. Annese is always here to help.
How Do Ear Infections In Children Occur
Heres an anatomy lesson
The ear is divided into three parts: the outer ear canal, the middle ear space where infections occur, and the inner ear where the nerves and balance center are. A thin, membranous eardrum divides the outer and middle ear. The middle ear space contains the small bones that conduct the vibrations of the eardrum to the brain and is also connected to the back of the nose via the Eustachian tube.
Immature Eustachian tube
In infants and young children, this tube is much shorter and is angled. It is therefore much easier for bacteria to migrate from the nose and throat up into the middle ear space. As the child grows, this tube becomes more vertical, so germs have to travel upward to reach the middle ear. This is one-reason children outgrow ear infections.
When your child has a cold, the nasal passages get swollen and mucus collects in the back of the nose. This environment is a breeding ground for the bacteria that normally live in the nose and throat to begin to overgrow. Mucus is also secreted within the middle ear space just as it is in the sinuses.
Germs migrate up through the Eustachian tube and into the middle ear space where they multiply within the mucus that is stuck there. Pus begins to form and soon the middle ear space is filled with bacteria, pus, and thick mucus.
Don’t Miss: What Kind Of Antibiotics For Yeast Infection
When Does A Toothache Require Antibiotics
When the dental infection is severe or impacts the gum around an erupting tooth, your dentist may recommend antibiotics. For instance, pericoronitis is an infection in the gum tissue that can develop around impacted wisdom teeth, as Merck Manuals explains. Patients with this condition may be given antibiotics as part of their treatment.
Additionally, if your dentist notices signs of a dental abscess a tooth infection that can develop from an untreated cavity, they may recommend antibiotics.
Also Check: How To Remedy An Ear Infection At Home
Symptoms A Tooth Infection Is Spreading To The Body
The first sign that you have a tooth infection is the presence of a toothache. It requires attention beyond pain relief to prevent spreading.
Pain relief medications take care of discomfort for a short period, but they do not clear an infection. If you have an infection in a tooth, you will need antibiotics to slow down and half the infection.
This is serious: A tooth infection that spreads to the body can be lethal.
You May Like: How To Kick A Sinus Infection Fast
Why Adults Get Ear Infections
Like children, adults get middle ear infections when fluid remains in the eustachian tubes. Under normal circumstances, these tubes rest in a closed position until you chew, swallow, or yawn. Then, they open up to regulate changes of pressure and allow fluid to drain out though your throat.
When eustachian tubes get clogged or blocked, however, pressure builds up inside your ear, causing pain and diminished hearing.
The most common cause of this blockage comes from upper respiratory infections, colds, flu, and allergies. If you get frequent colds or have seasonal allergies, you may be more susceptible to ear infections.
Smoking, even being around second-hand smoke, can also increase your risk for ear infections, because it damages the tissues in your throat and nose and compromises your immune system.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Ear Infection In Adults
There are different types of ear infections, based on where in the ear the infection occurs.
Symptoms of an ear infection may also occur following respiratory infections such as the common cold, flu, or COVID-19.
Symptoms of an ear infection in adults include:
- Discharge from the ear
- Frequently caused by otitis externa
Read Also: Hydrogen Peroxide For Tooth Infection
Types Of Middle Ear Infections
Middle ear infections are called otitis media. When otitis media is accompanied by fluid in the middle ear, ear infections are referred to as serous otitis media, or otitis media with effusion.
Middle ear infections often occur after a cold virus or upper respiratory infection. They are also more common in individuals who suffer from allergies or enlarged adenoids , which can inhibit proper functioning of the auditory tube.
Bacteria, viruses, or fungi often enter through the auditory tube, which can then become swollen and blocked with mucus, preventing drainage and ventilation of the middle ear.
The main symptoms of middle ear infections include:
- Ear pain, which may be worse in the morning or cause difficulty sleeping
- Trouble hearing
A healthcare provider can diagnose a middle ear infection based on symptoms and an examination, which involves looking at the eardrum with an otoscope.
Should I Be Concerned
Tooth and ear pain are probably some of the worst types of pain that a person can experience So yes, if there is tooth and ear pain going on, you should be concerned. Fortunately, you probably wont have to rush off to the emergency room, but you might need to see a dentist or doctor depending on the frequency and severity of your tooth and ear pain.
If its your child experiencing tooth and ear pain, you probably want to do everything possible to get them out of pain and into the doctors office. Over-the-counter Motrin is an anti-inflammatory that helps with swelling, which is a common cause of earaches and toothaches.
Once symptoms start to improve, you can begin to do some detective work to figure out whats causing it. That way youll know which type of doctor to see and what type of treatment to expect.
Recommended Reading: Best Antibiotic For Severe Sinus Infection
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
You probably know that ear infections are common in children. But they often occur in adults, too. Nurse practitioner Brittany Jamison, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, has seen her share of adult ear infections.
Adults are especially susceptible if they have a history of seasonal allergies, past ear infections, or poorly functioning eustachian tubes, she says. We see more of them as the weather gets warmer summer colds and allergies cause congestion and drainage issues. As mucus builds up and the ear becomes inflamed, an inner ear infection can result.
Ear pods and headsets also can cause ear infections. The constant irritation from inserting and removing these devices can aggravate the ear canal and make it more susceptible to bacteria, says Jamison. Weve seen a lot more adults with ear infections since more people have begun working from home.
Outer ear infections also are not unusual among adults. Just as it sounds, an outer ear infection causes pain and possible swelling on the outside of the ear.