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The teeth, ears and the throat are frequently infected at the same time since they are in close anatomic proximity and share a number of communication channels with each other.

That also means that there are a number of reasons which could be causing pain and discomfort in the related structures.

Pain arising in the teeth

The problem could be originating from the teeth, especially the teeth in the upper back region of the jaws. The roots of these teeth extend deep in to the upper jaw and are in extremely close proximity to the maxillary sinuses. Pain in these teeth can radiate to the ears and jaws.

The cause of this kind of pain is most commonly decay and is easily diagnosed clinically or by a simple intra-oral X-ray. Pain associated with decay is dull and throbbing in nature and tends to be worse after eating or drinking things that are extremely hot or extremely cold.

Pain arising in the jaw

Pain arising in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a very common complaint although one that is not so easily dealt with. The pain is dull and throbbing in nature and increases as the day progresses. This pain can spread to the ear, teeth and even the throat (although the first two are much more likely).

The cause of this pain is often difficult to pin down. It could be due to improper occlusion of the teeth or grinding of the teeth at night. This puts a lot of strain on the joint as well as the muscles supporting the joint. Patients with grinding will typically wake up with a feeling of tiredness and soreness in their facial muscles.

This pain is also increased after chewing for a long time. Left untreated, this kind of pain continues to worsen and makes even chewing the smallest amount of food difficult and painful.

Stress has been found to play a huge factor in developing TMJ pain. Practicing stress reduction techniques like meditation and even therapy to get to the root causes of the stress can play a major role in the management of this disease.

The patients who have been diagnosed to have TMJ pain arising from a grinding habit are given an occlusal guard, commonly known as a night guard to protect the teeth from wearing away too much.

Pain arising from the throat or ears

Pain arising from these regions is most often infective in nature and does not have a physical component like the other two. Depending upon which doctor you went to first, it would either have been ruled out first or would be the only option remaining in a case of dull pain that was difficult to pin down.

The management of this infection would be with antibiotics along with pain killers. The causes can vary from a strep infection to a middle ear infection. These will be associated with other symptoms like fever, or even lightheadedness and loss of balance.

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