If you have frequent ear infections and very sore around your jaw area and tight near you glands, what does it mean and should you make a doctors appointment?
Hugh Hetherington, MD answered:
Jaw soreness and tight glands suggest the presence of an infection which may emanate from the ear or from another source such as a salivary gland or an abscessed tooth. This may require a visit to a doctor to diagnose and treat.
Ear infections come in two general categories, otitis externa and otitis media. Otitis externa is an infection of the ear canal. It can spread to the adjacent soft tissue and cause soreness in the jaw area and inflammation of the adjacent lymph nodes (glands) in the neck. In this case it is usually serious enough that antibiotic ear drops and often oral antibiotics are required to clear the infection.
Otitis media is an infection in the middle ear behind the ear drum. It usually remains localized to the middle ear space and does not affect the adjacent soft tissue in the jaw area. It can cause swelling and tenderness (inflammation) of the lymph nodes in the neck. Sometimes the middle ear infection causes the eardrum to rupture and pus drains out of the ear. In this case, the pus in the ear canal can cause secondary inflammation and infection of the ear canal resulting in otitis externa which can cause soreness in the jaw area. Antibiotics may be required to clear the infection.