Ear and jaw pain can be annoying at best—and debilitating at worst. Finding relief requires first pinpointing the cause of your pain. After that, you can determine your best treatment options.
Ear and jaw pain can stem from many medical issues. Here, we’ll explore some of the common causes, including reasons why ear and jaw pain on one side can occur:
Technically, TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, the joint that connects the lower jaw to the side of your skull. But “TMJ” is often used as shorthand for TMJ disorders, which affect the joints and surrounding tissues. These can include:
Because of the location of the joint, jaw pain directly in front of the ear is a common TMJ disorder symptom.
All conditions above can affect both sides of the face, but ear and jaw pain on one side can also be caused by:
There are many ways to relieve ear and jaw pain, from home remedies to medical treatments.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can relieve ear and jaw pain. Placing a cold pack or cool, damp washcloth, or the same with a heating pad or warm, damp washcloth, on the painful area for 20 minutes can also help when pain comes on suddenly.
Other home remedies for jaw and ear pain include:
Your healthcare provider needs to determine the cause of your ear and jaw pain before recommending treatment. They might recommend
Treating the underlying cause is the key to finding jaw and ear pain relief.
If your jaw and ear pain linger for longer than a week or becomes so severe you’re unable to eat or sleep, you should see a healthcare professional. You should also see a doctor if the pain is accompanied by:
Figuring out who to see for jaw and ear pain can be challenging, as there are many healthcare providers who can help. Your best bet is to visit your primary care provider first—they can refer you to the right specialist if needed.
Get answers to some of the most common questions about ear and jaw pain.