Not only are earaches painful, but the difficulty in pinpointing their causes can be a source of great frustration and worry. Many people don't realize that even certain dental conditions may lead to earache. If you would like to increase your understanding of dental health, read on. This article will introduce you to two problems that may be causing your earache.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
Just pronouncing the name of this disorder can be enough to make your jaw ache. That's more than appropriate, considering that temporomandibular joint dysfunction--often shortened to TMD--has to do with a jaw that isn't functioning correctly. As far as doctors know, this may be due to either problems with the muscles of the jaw, or problems with the jawbone itself.
The most common symptom of TMD is pain when opening the jaw. Yet there are a host of other symptoms as well. These may include:
- odd sounds such as pops and clicks
- trouble opening the mouth wide
- stiffness in other facial muscles
- trouble chewing
Finally, TMD can often cause what people mistake for an earache. You see, TMD won't doesn't directly affect your ear. However the hinge of your jaw does happen to lie very close to the ear. That means that aches and pains in your jaw can easily be perceived as stemming from the ear instead.
Periapical abscesses are the result of excessive, uncontrolled tooth decay. Once decay has penetrated to the interior of your tooth, it is very easy for the pulp to become infected. A periapical abscess is an infection located all the way at the bottom of your tooth's root.
By the time you're dealing with a periapical abscess, it's pretty hard not to notice. That's because this condition is characterized by acute, shooting stabs of pain. This isn't the only symptom, however. Others include:
- swelling of the gums or face
- fever, chills, and other symptoms of severe bacterial infection
- extreme sensitivity of the affected tooth
As you may have guessed, a periapical abscess also manifests as an earache. This is especially common when the affected tooth happens to lie toward the back of the mouth--that is, closer to your ear. As the pain travels outward from your tooth, it triggers sympathetic reactions in the nerves around your ear.
If you think you may be suffering from a periapical abscess, it's important to seek dental aid as soon as possible. In order to prevent the infection from causing serious complications, your dentist may elect to perform an emergency root canal. For more information, contact a dentist in your area such as Omega Dental Periodontics.