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Causes of Pain in Right Jaw & Ear

author image Martin Hughes
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.
Causes of Pain in Right Jaw & Ear
Many conditions can cause right jaw and ear pain. Photo Credit face image by Robert Calvillo from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Many conditions can cause right jaw and ear pain. According to Family Doctor.org, a website produced by the American Academy of Family Physicians, ear pain is sometimes associated with jaw conditions. Because of their proximity, the ear and jaw may be affected by the same condition, disease or injury. Right-sided jaw and ear pain can be caused by simple, explainable causes, or it may signal a serious underlying condition that requires medical assistance and intervention. Right-sided jaw and ear pain ranges from mild to severe.

TMJ Disorders

Temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorders can cause right-sided jaw and ear pain. The TMJ is a paired joint located on the side of the head, just in front of the ears. The TMJ allows a person to talk, chew food and yawn. TMJ disorders cause pain and discomfort in and around the TMJ, making it difficult to perform these simple activities. Possible causes of TMJ disorders include osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, jaw trauma such as a broken or dislocated jaw or bruxism--grinding or gnashing of the teeth, according to the MayoClinic.com. Common signs and symptoms associated with TMJ disorders include jaw pain or tenderness, aching pain in and around the ear, chewing problems, facial pain, TMJ locking, difficulty with mouth opening or closing, headache and an uneven bite. Certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing a TMJ disorder, such as being a woman between the ages of the 30 and 50 and having a jaw deformity.


Parotitis can cause right-sided jaw and ear pain. Parotitis, also known as a salivary gland infection, is a viral or bacterial infection of saliva-producing glands, including the parotid glands. There are three principle types of paired salivary glands: the parotid glands, the submandibular glands and the sublingual glands. All the salivary glands dump saliva into the mouth via ducts that open in different locations throughout the mouth. According to MedlinePlus, a service of the National Institutes of Health, parotitis is a relatively common condition. Common signs and symptoms associated with parotitis include abnormal or foul tastes in the mouth, a reduced ability to open the mouth, dry mouth, fever, mouth and facial pain that's worse when eating, facial redness and an uncomfortable swelling of the face, especially in front of the ears, under the jaw and on the floor of the mouth.

Jaw Tumor

A jaw tumor can cause pain in the right jaw and ear. According to The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library, many tumor types, including both benign and malignant tumors, can arise in the jaw. In some cases, jaw tumors are discovered on dental x-rays, while in other cases, jaw tumors are found during a routine physical examination of the oral cavity. Jaw tumor treatment largely depends on the location and the kind of tumor present. Common signs and symptoms associated with jaw tumors include face and jaw pain, pain in or around the ear, face swelling, tenderness in the affected area and unexplained teeth loosening. The most common type of jaw tumor is squamous cell carcinoma, which invades the jaw bone by way of the dental sockets. Among the most problematic tumors that may arise in the jaw include osteosarcoma, Ewing's tumor, multiple myeloma and metastatic tumors.

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