Pain is the body’s signal that something is not quite right, and pain in the ears can be distressing. Even if it is a dull ache rather than a feeling you’d describe as acute, if it persists beyond a day or two, you should let your dentist check it out. Along with pain in your ears, you may experience related issues such as dizziness, pressure or ringing in the ears, or excessive wax build-up.
Clues it’s a problem your dentist can fix
There are some specific signs that point to a relationship between your ear discomfort and tooth or oral problems.
• Pain occurs in just one ear;
• Discomfort feels like it comes from very deep in the ear canal;
• Pain travels from the ear to the temple or neck;
• It gets worse if you move or use your jaw;
• It is accompanied by a clicking or popping sounds when you open your mouth wide, or shift your jaw from side to side.
Why see the dentist?
There are several ways that problems with the mouth, teeth, or jaws can cause pain in the ears. The structures of the ear are in close proximity – and closely related – to those of the jaw. What affects one will often affect the other. Here are some of the common reasons why.
Cavities, depending on their location, can cause ear pain. Decay of the back teeth, in particular, can also involve the ear area because the two structures are very close. Only a thin wall of bone separates the ear canal from the jaw.
A tooth abscess is caused by a bacterial infection. The infection leads to a small pocket pf pus against the tooth, even at the tip of the root.
• Most tooth abscesses are the result of an untreated cavity, or injury;
• Pain will be persistent and throbbing;
• Usually accompanied by sensitivity to temperature and pressure;
• Your dentist can help by treating the infection and then restoring your tooth.
Wisdom teeth come in as third molars at the back of the mouth. If there is no room for them to grow or develop properly, they can grow against the other teeth.
• The other molars can be damaged;
• There may also be nerve damage;
• Generally, pain is located in the jaw, but there may be little to no pain, or an ache that may seem to come from the ears.
If you’ve been suffering with chronic pain and tenderness in the ear area, you should get it checked out as soon as you can. Chronic tenderness in that area may be a sign of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
• The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the one located just in front of your ear on either side of your head, connecting your jawbone or mandible to the skull.
• TMD may involve the bones, muscle, ligament, or other tissue around the TMJ – in essence, it means your jaw does not seem to fit together properly. Muscles and other structures are tense, and painful.
• Pain around the ears is just one of the many possible symptoms of TMD. A thorough assessment will determine where the problem originates.
If you’re experiencing pain the mouth, jaw, or ears, call us for an appointment today. Looking for advice on any aspect of your dental or oral health? You’ll find the answer at Dr. Robert Axelrad’s Dental Office in Brampton, ON.
If you’re looking for a well-regarded and highly skilled dentist in the Brampton area, make an appointment with Dr. Robert Axelrad by calling (905)-791-3867. Visit our website to learn more about our dental services.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Dr Axelrad and Staff