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Dentistry/lower jaw pain


i have had all my teeth removed for quite sometime my gums have pretty much worn down due to not wearing dentures the pain is intense to wear i cant eat at times or sleep what could cause this i had a nurse tell me if i pull my ear on the side it hurts that something about either an inner or an outter ear infection is this true

Cynthia -  It is probably not an inner ear infection.  With the loss of the teeth, especially if no denture has been used for quite some time, the jaw muscles do not have stopping point.  The lower jaw tends to just float with teeth to close down to.  When this occurs, spasms of the jaw muscles are quite frequent.  This produces pain in the ear region and often headaches into the temple area.  My suggestion, besides getting a proper fitting denture is to immediately begin the following two treatments.  1) Start warm salt water rinses, concentrating the warm salt water towards the sides of the jaw in the back, on both sides.  Do this for about 5 minutes, 4-5 times a day.  2) Take two washclothes and keep dipping them in warm warm to keep them wet and warm, then place each one from the temple region to the bottom of the jaw.  So both sides of the jaw at the same time.  Do this for about 5-10 minutes, 4-5 times a day.   The combination of the two treatments will slowly begin to relax the muscles.  With the muscles relaxing the pain should decrease.  For a long term correction you need a stable bite and dentures or dental implants are the only way to regain the stability you will need to keep the muscles out of spasm.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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