Can Dental Problems Cause Ear Pain?

By Andrew Mortensen, DDS on March 21, 2019

Young woman reaches her hand toward throbbing left earThe 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.

Oral Health Problems That Lead to Ear Pain

Sometimes, an ear infection can cause tooth pain. In other instances, dental problems can lead to earaches. When determining the cause of your pain, Dr. Mortensen will examine your mouth, and discuss your symptoms and medical history with you.

For the majority of patients, these dental conditions can be the source of ear pain.

TMJ Disorder

The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) connect the lower jawbone to the skull. If this complex network of ligaments, muscles, and joints does not work in sync, TMJ disorder can develop. More than 10 million Americans suffer from this disorder.

One symptom of TMJ disorder is ear pain. By treating the underlying causes of TMJ disorder, Dr. Mortensen can relieve jaw discomfort and any ear pain symptoms.

Beyond ear pain, individuals with TMJ disorder often suffer from:

  • Facial pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Neck discomfort
  • Cracked teeth
  • Worn teeth
  • Jaw popping
  • Sore jaw muscles

Bite Misalignment

Not all bite problems lead to TMJ disorder. Minor misalignment can cause pain that radiates outward toward the ear.

Did you know that the nerve that controls the tensor tympani (a small muscle deep within the ear) also controls the chewing muscles? The connection means that pain from your jaw has a direct pathway to your inner ear.

The Link between Oral Health and Tinnitus

While a ringing ear isn’t physically painful, it can be psychologically draining. There have been reports that tinnitus can be caused by impacted wisdom teeth, TMJ disorder, and abscesses.

Bruxism

Teeth grinding can cause a host of problems, ranging from damaged teeth to tinnitus and ear pain. The temporomandibular joints neighbor the middle and inner ear, meaning that any problem that develops in the jawbone can spread to the ears.

Toothache

One common cause of ear pain is toothaches. Toothaches can result from:

  • A cavity
  • Tooth injury
  • Abscess
  • Gum disease

Contact Us Today

The teeth, gums, and jaw are inextricably linked to your ears. Pain in your ear can signal a dental problem and vice versa. That is one reason why proper oral health is so important for your quality of life. You may find that undergoing cleanings or restorative treatments lowers the occurrence of ear pain.

If you are seeking relief from ear pain that is caused by dental problems, contact our office online to set up an appointment or call (714) 964-4183.

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I am proud to have served patients in our community. Through continuing education and state-of-the-art equipment, we are able to offer you and your family the high level of care you're looking for. Andrew G. Mortensen, D.D.S.

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Fountain Valley Office

18837 Brookhurst St
Ste 109
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

More Info Directions (714) 964-4183