18 answers

Ear Infection or Toothache?

I confused, can I being having a ear infection and its making my lower left teeth hurt OR am I having a toothache and it causing my left ear to hurt?
Its been hard to sleep on left side because of the pain in my left ear and left side of face, chewing on left side also is hurting, Can this also cause neck pain? Am 9 wks and unsure what to take Tylenol or can i take Ibuprofen? any advice would be great. thanks S.

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I don't for sure but I think its a ear problem, I went in the pool today and my ear really hurts having water in it. Besides the tooth part of my jaw already has a filling on it so I don't think it could be infected. I have been using a hot pack for my neck and it seems to be helping. thanks for the help I see my OB this week to know for sure.

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I don't know what to tell you about the pain, but when I was pregnant my doctor said I could have Tylenol as needed for headaches and such. She said absolutely NO Ibuprofen. Good luck!

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You can take Tylenol (NOT Ibuprofen) but it would be a good idea to see your doctor to make sure there is no infection. Untreated infections of any kind when you are pregnant can lead to miscarriage or early labor.

I haven't read the responses but you might be grinding or gritting your teeth. I had the same problem and thought I had a sinus infection or a tooth issue but found out I was gritting my teeth, my doctor perscribed muscle relaxants which took the problem away in a day and now I faithfully use my mouthgard to avoid that awful pain.

Dear S.

Teeth seem to cause trouble during pregnancy. An old wives tale is "for every child a tooth". In the bad old days when even the OBGYNs knew less than nothing we took aspirin. Aspirin is made mostly of White Willow Bark which is a curative for cancer of the uterus. It is native to the USA. Don't ask how a German company Bayer became so big with aspirin. However, aspirin I trust more than Ibuprofen, Tylenol and every other jonny/come/lately/ to the over the counter pain reliever club.
Call your dentist and go see her/him. Yes earaches, neck pain, trouble chewing, even headaches can be the result of poorly aligned or infected teeth.
If it's a toothache and you are waiting even a few days to get to your appointment a whole clove placed against the tooth will provide relief. The same is true for garlic... just be careful not to chew it.

I don't know what to tell you about the pain, but when I was pregnant my doctor said I could have Tylenol as needed for headaches and such. She said absolutely NO Ibuprofen. Good luck!

Are you under a lot of stress? You may be clenching your jaw without realizing it. I have found that I do this occasionally and I experience all the symptoms that you are describing - the neck pain is a clear indicator that it is probably neither your ear nor your teeth!
While you're awake, try to make a really conscious effort to relax your jaw (let your teeth separate inside your mouth). And focus on pushing your shoulders down - that helps with the neck pain. Hope it helps!

You can take tylenol, but avoid ibuprofen since it can cause bleeding. I'm not a doctor, but it sounds like it could be your tooth or an ear infection. If it's an ear infection, it should feel/sound like you have cotton in your ear or fuzzy for lack of better word. If your hearing is normal, it's just a little uncomfortable, it's probably your tooth. Either way, make a doctor or dentist appointment and have them check it out.

I know a couple people mentioned TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) and I've had that for about 10 years. If you're having excruciating headaches, then it might be tmj, but if it's just your ear and tooth right now, probably not tmj. The only way to know for sure is to see your doctor. In the meantime, don't suck hard on anything (straws) or chew gum or other chewy things since those can both make the situation worse.

I would definately go to the doctor, and be sure NOT to take Ibuprofen, it says right on the bottle that it can cause birthdefects, or at least it does on my bottle of store brand Ibuprofen.

Keep in mind, I'm NOT a doctor, but I think it would be more likely that you have a tooth ache, which is in turn effecting your ear.... it could always be the other way around though, so you should really go to the doctor, especially since you're pregnant; you don't want to be dealing with any kind of infection when you're pregnant.


It's entirely possible it's neither one. It could possibly be a sinus infection. I have pain that hurts both my teeth and my ear when I have a sinus infecton. It sounds crazy, but the pressure from the sinus cavities in the face can do that to me. However, it's possible you could have either an ear infection or a toothache as well..are you running a fever? If so, I would be inclined to think it's either a sinus infection or ear infection instead of a toothache.

I'm not sure what to tell you about ibuprofen or tylenol as I don't use either one (allergic to both) so I would suggest you call your OB, or at the very least your regular doc. One or the other should be able to help you figure out what's going on, and what medicine to take. Don't worry about it being the weekend; if they aren't available, somebody should be on call and providing coverage. You can at least talk to a nurse.

Congrats on your pregnancy! Good luck!

I had some infectious disease ("more common than people think," the doc said) when I was like 12 that started off as pain generalized on one side of my face/neck/ear and ended up with that side of my face (temporarily) paralysed, no joke!, so calling a nurse advice line at the very least I would recommend. (And I am generally anti-'normal'-medical advice ... but that one was pretty scary for sure. Dunno what a naturopath would say; I didn't consider naturopathy until I was an adult.

I thought it was TMJ/cleching my jaw, at first ... right up until the whole side of my face stopped working!!! Eek!

(And I can only imagine how my parents must've been panicking, quietly so as not to scare me ;). )

Tylenol is ok to take. No ibuprofen unless under doctor's orders.
Try putting a warm, dry washcloth on your, if it's an ear infection it might help a bit.

Either. Or a sinus infection. Or TMJ (fairly common with the whole loosening of joints thing that happens when pregnant). Or a swollen lymph gland that's impinging on a nerve. Actual the ear/tooth/sinus thing could be all connected...infections frequently travel around in head spaces. You can even (sigh) get an earache, headache, toothache, eyepain...all caused from one infection that starts dripping and contaminating other areas.

Best bet. Put a call in to your doc.

You can take tylenol, but if it's an infection or an abscess, better to find out now when it's in it's early stage than when you're clawing at the walls wanting a replacement head while yours is in the shop!

Good luck!

I had an abscessed tooth and it felt like an ear infection... I would see your doctor or dentist before it gets too bad as it can get very, very painful...

Could be a sinus infection. Tooth/mouth pain seems to be a symptom of sinusitis in our family. Pain reliever...can't remember which (I think Tylenol) can be taken during pregnancy and one should not be taken. Check with your OB.

go to the doctor. They can check the ear and see if there is an infection. they most likely won't do anything for it yet, but then you will know. you should also talk to them about what you can take that is safe when pregnant. Don't mess around, talk to a professional.

Yes, and you can even be having a migraine on the left side of your head and be unable to tell if it is a migraine, ear ache.

I have had an tooth ache (root canal) and believe you me if you have one you will not be able to stand the pain, and not be even to breathe without hurting--screaming.

Call your OB to see what meds you can take if you have a tooth ache. Then see a dentist. Make sure he/she knows you are pregnant. Watch to x-rays.

Whether it is ear infection or toothache, it sounds like you need to be seen. Either one can cause pain in both, the ear is more likely to spread pain like that... especially since it didn't come on slowly over weeks. I am assuming you checked and have no fever though...

In my experience it is probably tooth related. I have had the same response to tooth pain almost every time I need work done....or if you grind your teeth at night, your bite could be off which creates the neck and ear pain. I spend a lot of time in the dentist office! I would go to the dentist and get it checked out!

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