Ear Aches Can Stem from Jaw Pain

Posted on 7/23/2019 by Westlake Oral Surgery
Ear Aches Can Stem from Jaw PainNo one likes to be in pain and our patients want us to find the cause of their pain and try to fix it. If the pain you are experiencing seems to be coming from your tooth or gums or anywhere in your oral cavity, we are generally your “go to” people.

We are dentists as well as oral surgeons, so it makes sense to check in with us first. But if the pain you experience is in your ear, your jaw, or your facial muscles you tend to think you should go to a medical doctor. While sometimes this is the correct decision other times, we are the ones you should see. Now you are wondering why.

How Does Ear Pain Relate to Dentistry?

Ironically, more often than not, your ear pain is related to your jaw and what is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is where your jawbone connects to your skull, just below your ear. It is what is known as a hinge joint and works as the hinge on a door, with slightly more flexibility. This joint allows you to open and close your mouth and move your jaw from side to side. It has ligaments, cartilage discs, and bone.

If something goes wrong with your TMJ, you may notice clicking or popping sounds when you open your mouth. You may not be able to open it all the way. You can experience ear pain, but it will usually be in front of the ear or below the ear. If you experience any of these symptoms you should call us. We can determine if you have TMJ and frequently it can be fixed quite simply. Why you have TMJ determines the course of treatment.

If your jaw is damaged due to an accident of some sort or you have arthritis that is affecting your jaw, you should see your physician. If your TMJ stems from excessive gum chewing or teeth grinding, we can make a custom mouth guard to be worn at night to stop the damage your grinding or clenching is doing. Only you can quit chewing gum.
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