Medical Q&As

Ear pain - could it be my teeth?

I had an ear infection two months ago and have developed pain again in the same ear. I also have pain in my back teeth on the same side and recently had a filling inserted. I have to go back to my dentist for a further filling in one of my back teeth. Could this ear pain be coming from my teeth? What should I do?

I would suggest that you go back to your GP and have your ears re-examined. The pain you are currently experiencing could be from your tooth but it is also possible that you have developed further ear infection. Ear pain can arise as a result of infection in the outer or middle compartments of the ear and both types of infection are readily diagnosable with the aid of a special ear torch known as an auriscope. Other causes of ear pain include such condition as impacted earwax, a foreign body lodged in the outer ear, fluid in the middle ear and dysfunction in the Eustachian tube, which is the tube that connects the middle ear with the back of the throat. However, ear pain can be referred from other sites such as the teeth, parotid glands, the throat or the temperomandibular joints. Referred pain means that the sensation of pain is perceived as coming from the ear but is in fact coming from another location. In those latter scenarios the eardrum and outer ear will usually look normal. It is also possible that your pain could be coming from both your teeth and ears in which case you will require treatment from your GP and dentist. I would suggest that you visit your GP first in order to exclude a possible ear condition. You could then proceed with the remainder of your dental treatment.