Ear pain radiates to jaw

This malaise is a fairly common symptom. It can signal a wide variety of diseases under the care of different specialists. The most sensible idea when such pain occurs is to go to a therapist at the clinic. The doctor will examine the affected area, ask about what preceded the unpleasant sensation and tell you why the jaw near the ear hurts. Or he will redirect you to the appropriate specialist for treatment: dentist, orthopedist, otolaryngologist, traumatologist, neurologist, infectious disease specialist or doctor of another specialization.

An alarming symptom should not be ignored and suppressed by taking painkillers. After all, pills will only relieve the syndrome, but will not cure the problem. This risks complications. Even if joint pain can be explained by neutral reasons, for example, the installation of a new denture or braces, it is always better to find out the real source of the pathology and make sure that there are no serious abnormalities.

Main reasons

The jaw is the facial part of the skull, consisting of bones, tissues and nerve endings. The lower part is one of the components of the temporomandibular joint. It is one of the most functional and complex joints in the human body. It is involved in the process of chewing, swallowing, and speaking, so a violation of its functionality affects a person’s daily activities in the most negative way.

The lymph nodes of the head and neck are located near the jaw. If they are enlarged and painful, this is a clear sign of pathology. Very close are the ears - another complex paired organ, which, like the temporomandibular joint, is penetrated by nerves.

Therefore, it is not surprising when the affected joint radiates pain to the ear, and it, in turn, can radiate to the jaw. Teeth, trachea, larynx, respiratory organs, including the nasopharynx, and even some diseases of the internal organs can be a possible cause of pain.

Larisa Kopylova


We should not forget that being one of the joints of the human body, this joint can hurt during degenerative-dystrophic chronic damage to articular tissue or, more simply, be a concomitant phenomenon of osteoarthritis.

Inflammation of muscle fibers can cause similar symptoms, leading to muscle spasms and the inability to make simple head movements.

As you can see, there are many reasons for the appearance of pathology. And each of them has its own characteristics and requires complex treatment.

The video talks about the main causes of pain in the jaw joint:

Types and symptoms of pathology

Arthritis of the jaw joint is classified depending on the cause. The most commonly diagnosed infectious type of disease. The pathology is dangerous because, if not treated in a timely manner, it leads to mumps and mastoiditis. Infectious arthritis of the mandibular joint is accompanied by headaches radiating to the back of the head; swelling of the affected area.

The traumatic form of the disease is more often diagnosed in young people due to participation in traumatic sports. Characteristic signs of damage: swelling and severe pain on the side of the injury.

Doctors rarely diagnose dystrophic arthritis. The problem occurs due to uneven load on the jaw when chewing. A characteristic sign of arthritis is a change in facial proportions and malocclusion.

Common symptoms of inflammation include:

  • Throbbing pain. The intensity of the sensation increases when you move the joint or press on the chin area.
  • Swelling of the damaged area. The pathological process spreads to the soft tissues, causing redness and swelling of the skin over the jaw joint.
  • Amplitude limitation. If there is a problem, the patient cannot open his mouth more than 0.5 cm.

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Additional symptoms of inflammation of the temporomandibular joint include:

  • deterioration in hearing quality due to gradual narrowing of the ear canal;
  • feeling of stuffiness and extraneous noise in the ears;
  • dizziness and chills.

In advanced stages, the pathology is accompanied by clicking and crunching of the jaw. Pain and limited range of motion are especially noticeable in the morning. After warming up, the severity of the symptom weakens.

Adolescents and the elderly should be attentive to the first signs of arthritis. This category of people has a particularly high risk of developing temporomandibular joint diseases.

What to do if you get sick? You should not self-medicate, since it is impossible to select a competent treatment regimen without identifying the cause of the pathology. To diagnose the disease, it is enough for an experienced specialist to study the symptomatic picture of the pathology and visually examine the patient. During a visual examination, the doctor pays special attention to the symmetry of the jaw; pain of the area during palpation and range of motion when chewing.

If necessary, the procedure is carried out with contrast enhancement, due to which pathological neoplasms in the jaw structure are revealed.

To diagnose arthrosis of the maxillary and mandibular joint, highly specialized examination methods are used:

Diagnosis of TMJ arthritis is complicated due to the fact that the disease's symptomatic picture is similar to neuralgia.

Neuralgia and vascular pathologies

Damage to some nerves can give a negative picture, accompanied by pain in the joint near the jaw. Most often, problems occur with four nerves:

  • trigeminal - inflammation is characterized by burning pain on one side of the jaw, most often on the right near the ear;
  • upper laryngeal - pain in the lower jaw;
  • glossopharyngeal - in this case the pain spreads throughout the lower part of the face from the tongue to the jaw;
  • occipital - radiating, so-called deceptive pain in the jaw near the ear from the back of the head.

Major nerves and muscles of the face

In the video, Elena Malysheva talks about trigeminal neuralgia:

The cause of severe pain may also be vascular disorders. Most often, this is a lesion of the carotid artery, which affects not only the neck and lower jaw, but also half of the face on the left or right.

Arteritis of the facial artery can be accompanied by pain in both jaws or along the edge of the lower jaw with discomfort radiating to the wings of the nose, lip and ear area. Arteries are responsible for supplying the brain with oxygen and nutrients. Any vascular pathology can cause disturbances in blood flow in this area.

Pain in the jaw, radiating to the facial and ear areas, can be a harbinger of future brain damage - a stroke.

Jaw pain near the ear: therapeutic measures

Many people often ask the question, what to do if your jaw hurts near your ear? Treatment will directly depend on the cause of the pain. When you contact a specialist, you will definitely undergo an x-ray examination and prescribe certain tests. In some cases, a neuralgic examination is required. For fractures, surgical intervention is performed. If it is dislocated, it is necessary to straighten the jaw.

For carotidynia, painkillers (Indomethacin) and antidepressants are prescribed. Purulent diseases are treated exclusively in a hospital. The main method of treatment is antibiotic therapy. The abscess is opened and the purulent contents are removed.

Treatment of the tumor is also surgical. In this case, several types of treatment are combined - surgery, chemotherapy, and investment.

Dental problems and injuries

Dental problems are another common cause of ear and jaw pain. The cause of this disease may be one or more of the following pathologies:

  • pulpitis;
  • caries;
  • periodontal abscess;
  • germination of wisdom teeth;
  • gum disease that has developed into a purulent process;
  • adaptation after installation of braces;
  • poor quality prosthetics.

Caries and pulpitis

Periodontal abscess

Growing wisdom teeth

Suppuration on the gum

Adaptation to braces

Poor quality prosthetics

Sometimes simultaneous pain in the jaw and ear appears after an injury. For example, with a bruise, dislocation or fracture of the lower joint of the face. Dislocation can occur when you yawn too widely, try to open your mouth too wide, or even from simple actions such as laughing, vomiting, or coughing. With a right-sided injury, the right side of the jaw hurts more and vice versa. If the dislocation affects both sides at once, severe pain will pierce the entire face and may radiate to the ears. A common cause of dislocation is weakness of the ligamentous apparatus associated with age-related changes.

Larisa Kopylova


Osteomyelitis becomes a frequent accompaniment of untreated injuries. Also, after blows and falls, abscesses, phlegmon and purulent processes in soft tissue can occur. Any of these problems can be signaled by pain in the jaw and ear.

Jaw pain near the ear: when to see a doctor

If the pain is regular and becomes increasingly difficult to bear, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Self-medicating in this situation can be dangerous; you should not heat the sore spot. As practice shows, the implementation of such measures further aggravates the situation, especially if the pain arises as a result of an infectious disease. It is better to take a pain reliever and rush to consult a specialist.

How does a doctor solve a problem?

After a thorough examination, the doctor will be able to identify the cause of the pain. If it is related to dentistry, then most likely the following measures will be taken:

1. If a cyst or caries is detected, treatment will be carried out. A few days later, after the cause has been eliminated and the wound from the operation has healed, the patient will feel relief.

2. If your jaw hurts as a result of wearing braces, this is good. The bite is being corrected and there should even be pain. If the situation allows, the doctor may slightly loosen the braces to relieve pressure. But in the case when nothing can be done, you will have to be patient and be patient.

3. An incorrectly grown wisdom tooth needs to be removed. Otherwise, it will constantly interfere with neighboring teeth and cause you discomfort. Under no circumstances should you be afraid of the operation; it is performed under local anesthesia; to date, no complications have been recorded.

4. If pain occurs due to dentures, they need to be adjusted. Moreover, this procedure must be done periodically.

It must be remembered that pain, even of a minor nature, can be a consequence of a serious illness, so in no case should it be tolerated.

ENT diseases

Painful sensations in the jaw and ear at the same time can be caused by pathologies of the respiratory system, which are under the supervision of an otolaryngologist.

Pharyngitis (inflammation of the larynx), laryngitis, laryngotracheitis, sinusitis, acute purulent otitis - all these ailments can produce similar symptoms. With sinusitis, pain affects not only the ear and jaw, but also the orbit, frontal lobe, and temporal region. This is due to the purulent-inflammatory process occurring in the nasal sinuses.





Ear disease is the most likely cause of pain in this area. But sometimes the apparent reason is deceiving. This happens with red ear syndrome - erythrootalgia, when redness in the ears is not due to an inflammatory process, but to compression of the pharyngeal nerve, which is caused by a displacement of the spine in the cervical region.

Larisa Kopylova


Pain in the left side of the jaw can be caused by angina pectoris or myocardial infarction, and under the jaw on the right - indicate an infectious or inflammatory process, neoplasms, or the presence of a progressive purulent focus.

Inflammation of the tongue - glossitis, inflammation of the salivary glands - sialadenitis, stones in the salivary glands - sialolithiasis, tumors of the salivary glands and larynx, hypersensitivity of the tongue - glossalgia can also cause pain in the jaw and ear.




Localization of discomfort near the ear node does not always, but quite often indicates the need to consult an ENT doctor.

What causes an unpleasant symptom?

The causes of pain in the jaw near the ear can be different. These include:

  • injuries: bruises, fractures, dislocations;
  • diseases of an inflammatory or infectious nature;
  • pathologies of blood vessels;
  • benign tumors;
  • malignant seals.

In addition to these reasons, jaw pain can occur due to improper bite. In this case, you need to consult an orthodontist. By solving the issue of improper teeth closure, you can get rid of unpleasant sensations forever.

Using braces or dentures can also cause pain near the ear. In the first few days, there is no need to worry about such sensations. The body must adapt to the foreign body. When putting on braces, pain also indicates a uniform displacement of the teeth to create the correct bite. However, if pain persists for more than 5-7 days, you should consult a doctor. The denture or braces may need to be adjusted.

You can determine the cause of the pain syndrome if you carefully study its nature. The pain can be acute, throbbing, pressing, mild, and appears only when chewing or pressing. Each of them indicates the presence of different diseases in the body.

If pain appears in different places and does not have a clear localization, this may indicate dental and neurological pathologies. For example, with pulpitis, half of the facial part is affected, on the side of which the diseased tooth is located.

In this case, the patient is tormented by shooting pains that manifest themselves in the jaw, temple, cheekbone, and chin. The same is observed with inflammation of the ternary nerve. In this case, the patient also observes a shift in pain from the jaw area to the temporal, zygomatic, and frontal.

Different character

The cause of discomfort can be determined by the nature of the pain:

  • spicy. Sharp and acute pain most often develops against the background of an open or closed fracture, neuralgic inflammation, pulpitis, osteomyelitis;
  • pulsating. Pulsating sensations can develop against the background of caries, periodontitis, cysts, gingivitis, angina pectoris, otitis media;
  • aching. Such sensations signal malocclusion, infectious pathologies, growth of wisdom teeth, neuralgic diseases, dislocations;

Pain in the ear that extends to the jaw and back in some cases indicates the development of infectious diseases, diseases of the jaw and temporal joint, otitis media, tumor neoplasms, and dental pathologies.

Pain in the jaw area sometimes does not bother a person at rest, but makes itself felt when chewing food.

Most often, such symptoms indicate the following pathologies:

  • bruises, dislocations, closed fractures due to accidents, injuries, falls;
  • dental diseases: pulpitis, periodontitis, alveolitis;
  • growth of wisdom teeth;
  • purulent diseases: osteomyelitis, boil, abscess;
  • tumor neoplasms: osteoma, adamantioma;
  • carotidynia, inflammation of the ternary nerve.

If intense pain in the jaw and chin develops with pressure, this may indicate the following pathologies:

  • wisdom tooth growth;
  • injury to the jaw area: dislocation, bruise;
  • inflammation of the lymph nodes due to viral infections;
  • purulent processes: abscess, osteomyelitis, phlegmon;
  • pathologies of the temporomandibular joint due to arthritis, arthrosis;
  • bite problems;
  • benign and malignant neoplasms;
  • neuralgic diseases.

Often pain when pressing occurs against the background of angina or heart attack.

Unilateral pain on the right or left side of the face can signal dental and neuralgic diseases. Discomfort on the right or left often occurs due to a diseased tooth located in these parts. Similar symptoms are observed with pulpitis, periodontitis, caries.

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Also, one-sided discomfort can indicate heart disease or the growth of wisdom teeth, inflammation of the ternary nerve. Bilateral pain is typical for bruises, dislocations, and malocclusion.

Jaw cracked

Pain syndrome, which is accompanied by a crunching sound, can signal the progression of the following pathologies:

  • arthritis, arthrosis;
  • TMJ dysfunction;
  • wear of tooth enamel;
  • injuries;
  • malocclusion;
  • neurotic spasms.

A painful jaw crunch occurs when the ligaments are sprained.

Swelling may appear as a result of injury to the problem area. Swelling often develops after dental surgery.

Similar symptoms are observed with purulent abscess, malignant or benign diseases, and enlarged cervical and ear lymph nodes.

A number of other pathologies in which the patient detects puffiness and swelling in the chin area:

  • odontoma;
  • cementoma;
  • osteoma;
  • odontogenic fibroma.

Swelling sometimes appears as wisdom teeth grow.

Causes of pain in the ear and jaw

If pain in the ear radiates to the jaw, this can be caused by pathology of the tissues of the auditory canal, diseases of the organs and mucous membranes associated with the chewing-swallowing function, as well as the innervation of these zones.


Pain syndrome of the maxillo-ear localization appears in the following pathologies:

  • trigeminal neuralgia, which occurs after treatment or removal of teeth with advanced caries, complicated by pulpitis or gumboil;
  • eruption of wisdom teeth;
  • dental root cysts;
  • chronic or purulent periodontitis;
  • installation of braces or dentures.

More rare are glossitis, glossalgia (inflammation of the tongue), sialadenitis - inflammation of the salivary glands. With an advanced form of sialadenitis, salivary stone disease can develop - the formation of stones in the salivary glands.


Ear pain radiating to the jaw may indicate pathologies of the ENT organs:

  • Otitis is an inflammation of the tissues of the external, middle or internal auditory canal.
  • Sinusitis is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, which are air cavities that help equalize intracranial and atmospheric pressure.
  • Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils.
  • Laryngitis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the larynx and vocal cords.
  • Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the throat in the area between the back of the roof of the mouth and the larynx.

The main cause of disease is complications after infections (flu, sore throat). A severe cold - hypothermia - can also play a provoking role.

Osteology and arthrology

When pain in the ear radiates to the jaw, the patient should consult an osteopath or arthrologist. The examination may reveal the following pathologies of the mandibular joint:

  • arthritis;
  • arthrosis;
  • osteomyelitis.

This articular joint experiences significant stress when chewing food. This contributes to its wear and deformation, which in turn causes the development of diseases characteristic of all joints.

The cause of pain radiating from the ear to the jaw can be various types of injuries - bruises and fractures of the maxillofacial bones, dislocations of the lower jaw. More rarely, it is caused by vascular pathologies, for example, arteritis - inflammation of the carotid artery running from the neck to the head.

Oncopathologies, especially their malignant forms, pose the greatest danger. They can affect almost any tissue - mucous membrane, lymph nodes, blood vessels, muscles, ligaments, bones.

Dental diseases

Often, dental inflammatory processes in advanced stages cause severe pain in the ear. This is due to the nerve connections of the jaw and temporal bone, where the inner and middle ear are located. As a result, the jaw and teeth hurt, and extremely unpleasant sensations radiate to the ear.

The most common cause is periodontitis, an inflammation of soft tissues that becomes chronic. There may be pain in the ear due to the appearance of gumboil and inflammation of the dental nerve. In such cases, the jaw and head hurt, and with them the ear on the same side.

Periodontitis - this disease can cause pain in the jaw

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