What Would Cause Pain in the Jaw Near the Ear?


Jaw pain coupled with a headache can signal some serious conditions that warrant having your doctor check it out. Getting a diagnosis from your dentist is also a wise idea.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders affect the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull just in front of your ear. TMJ causes can include emotional stress, teeth grinding, arthritis, and poor posture.

Abscessed Tooth

  • An abscess is a pocket of infection in either your tooth or your jawbone. The area around the infection swells, causing pressure on the nerves near your jaw.

Heart Disease

  • Although it sounds strange, pain in your jaw can indicate a serious heart condition. In some people, especially women, this may be the only warning they have before suffering a heart attack.

Migraine Headaches

  • Migraines are thought to be vascular headaches that affect the trigeminal nerve, the main sensory nerve that controls chewing and sensations in the face. The trigeminal nerve runs from the brain stem into the side of your face.

Bell's Palsy

  • Bell's Palsy is pain due to the inflammation of a nerve that travels through a bony tunnel in the side of your face and stimulates facial movement. Symptoms are facial weakness and a drooping eye.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Q. Thomas Bower
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