Ear Pain from Teeth - NY Otolaryngology Group Responds

Question: Is my ear pain from teeth?

I found your Web Page while trying to figure out what is wrong with me, if you were closer to California I’d book an appointment. I’m a 41 yrs old and I started having trouble with my right ear they keep our offices very cold I sit directly under three vents I have been sitting under the vents for about three years now I do come down with the minor head cold occasional flu sometimes I believe that contributes to it since I wash my hair in the mornings and it’s too thick to completely dry with a blow dryer so my hair remains damp and having the cold air blast down on me all day at work does not help.

Well, with the holidays fast approaching and too much to get done before our holiday break I didn’t have time to be sick so I kept ignoring the fact that my ear was hurting … my ear pain was not tolerable it was hurting so bad I looked up some ear remedies I found online I poured in a few drops of Hydrogen peroxide into the infected year and it seemed to have helped a bit until that night I woke up with the worst pain my that shot from my ear to my teeth so Sunday morning I was in urgent care the Dr. or PA whatever he was asked a lot of questions even took an EKG to my surprise and diagnosed me as having facial arthritis and recommended I go see my dentist about my teeth, I was shocked.

So I went to see my dentist he took x-rays tapped on teeth, did a cold test that did eventually result in major pain and referred me to an Endodontic I have an apt with him tomorrow. But still refuse to believe it’ my teeth all this started with an earache that is still present and a swollen gland all of this by the way is on the right side, maybe I should believe it might be facial arthritis I highly doubt since I have no history of arthritis, and I believe I would probably be getting it in my hands before my face since I tend to use my hands more. I need to know if someone can have ear pain from teeth related issues.


Thanks for your question.  While I can’t tell for sure what is causing your ear pain without examining you. There are certinaly casesof ear pain from teeth, or more likely your jaw joint.   The back wall of the jaw joint is also the front wall of the ear canal.  Pain from the jaw joint typically presents as ear pain- and usually much more painful than what one gets from an actual ear infection-  it creates a muscle spasm pain like when your back goes out.-

This can occur from a dental infection- but most commonly it is ear pain from teeth grinding (bruxism).

Put your finger just in front of the ear and open your mouth-  if that is painful, you are likely to have what is often called ” TMJ”.  You don’t need to have true arthritis.

The treatment is first making sure there is in fact no ear infection.   If the problem is from the jaw- we recommend a warm compress, a soft diet and an anti-inflammatory (motrin, advil, aleve etc)-  Should this persist, then we suggest following up with your dentist-  If you are indeed grinding your teeth, you may find a bite plate at night (either from your dentist- or there are some availble at the drug store for this purpose)  helpful.

R Pincus MD

NY Sinus Center