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Understanding Jaw Pain by Ear: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Woman holding her cheek due to pain

Multiple conditions, like TMJ, an ear infection, or stress, can cause jaw pain by your ear. While the pain can often resolve on its own, there are certain things you can do to alleviate the pain. Additionally, you should know when the pain is severe enough to see your doctor or dentist.

What Causes Pain in the Jaw By the Ear?

The most common cause of pain in the jaw by your ear is problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

In addition to ear pain caused by this jaw disorder, you may experience other TMJ symptoms like headaches, severe sinus pressure, and eye pain. However, some other common reasons for sharp pain by the ear and jaw pain may include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Psoriatic or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Stress
  • Sleep apnea
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Migraine
  • Sinusitis
  • Teeth grinding
  • Dental issues

How to Treat Jaw and Ear Pain

If you are experiencing jaw and joint pain, the best thing you can do is to treat it with alternating heat and cold to reduce inflammation and pain. You can use an electric heating pad or a hot pack on your jaw for 10 to 20 minutes and then use an ice pack simultaneously.

To help relieve pain associated with TMJ, try to correct your posture, maintain the resting position of your jaw, exercise your jaw, avoid yawning or yelling, and get a good night’s sleep.

Doing these things can help manage your pain and prevent it from returning. If your jaw and ear pain still bothers you after trying these methods to relieve the pain, you should contact your dentist or doctor, depending on the reason behind your pain.

What Are Signs of Jaw Pain Caused By Ear Infection?

If you have jaw and ear pain due to an ear infection, you will have a lot of swelling and pain near your ear and jaw on one side of your face. Additionally, you will most likely have a fever and low energy level.

This level of infection can be life-threatening if left untreated, so it is vital to see your doctor as soon as possible for treatment. Your doctor will treat you for mastoiditis, a bacterial infection of the mastoid cells surrounding your inner and middle ear.

Is Ear and Jaw Pain Serious?

Ear and jaw pain can be severe if a fever, swelling, or tooth pain accompanies it. You may have chronic TMJ disorder if you experience ear and jaw pain without fever or swelling for longer than three months.

Ear and jaw pain is not typically serious if it comes and goes, but it should be treated more seriously if you have more serious symptoms besides the pain and if it does not go away after that three-month mark.

Can Stress Cause Ear and Jaw Pain?

Stress can cause jaw pain by the ear when clenching or when relaxed. It is a common cause of pain in the mouth, ears, teeth, jaw, and sinus cavities. When you are anxious, you tend to tighten your jaw muscles, which can cause pain in both your mouth and ears.

Final Thoughts

The cause of jaw pain by the ear can be due to multiple conditions, such as TMJ, stress, or a severe ear infection. You should contact your doctor immediately if a fever, fatigue, or other flu-like symptoms accompany your pain. If you believe that the jaw pain in your ear is due to TMJ, Raleigh TMJ, and Sleep Therapy Centre can help.

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TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Raleigh-Durham

  • 1150 NW Maynard Rd, Suite #140
    Cary, North Carolina 27513
  • (919) 323-4242
  • Monday: 9am – 5pm Tuesday: 9am – 6pm Wednesday: 9am – 5pm Thursday: 9am – 6pm Friday: 9am – 1pm Sat - Sun Closed We always have someone to answer the phone from 9-5pm every day
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