Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Is It An Ear Infection Or Toothache

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Symptoms Of Tooth Infection Spreading To The Body

Home Remedies for EAR ACHE… Do it yourself(DIY)

Abscesses can burst on their own, and the pain may diminish. However, it is essential to seek dental treatment because the bacteria can still spread beyond the tooth.;

Symptoms of a tooth infection spreading to the body include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue


Dental abscesses can spread, potentially causing life-threatening infections in other areas of your body. Severe pain and flu-like symptoms are common signs of spreading.

Can A Toothache Cause An Earache

The short answer is yes a toothache can cause an earache.;

Often, this is due to the close proximity of the jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint , to the ear. When a tooth has decayed or is infected, the problem with the tooth can radiate from the jaw and be felt in the ear.

Conversely, a toothache can be the sign of an earache. In this case, cold and flu symptoms will likely be present as well. There are various causes and symptoms associated with each case. These will be discussed more thoroughly below.;

The most pressing concern for many will be how to alleviate this pain, regardless of its source. Until a medical or dental professional can be seen, there are a number of home remedies that can be used to provide relief from jaw, tooth, and ear pain.

While 40% of annual costs for chronic pain are due to orofacial problems, research has shown that roughly half of those experiencing tooth pain do not seek treatment and only 33% of those who did not seek treatment cited financial reasons.;;

Yet, dental pain has been shown to have a massive effect on a persons ability to function, interfering with sleep, mood, eating, work, and social life.;

The following will explain why a toothache may be the cause of ear or jaw pain, how to differentiate between a toothache and an earache, and the symptoms, causes, and home remedies for each.;

Can A Toothache Make Me Sick Or Even Be Fatal

A toothache itself isnt fatal. But an untreated infection in your tooth can spread. You can become sick, and this illness could turn into something serious or even life-threatening. So if you toothache isnt getting better its a good idea to contact your dentist.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/23/2020.


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Why Can An Ear Hurt From A Toothache

Jaw, tooth, and ear pain is part of the trigeminal system. In short, this system is a three-pronged sensory nerve that encapsulates the head and face, providing sensory input for touch, pain, and temperature.;

The largest nerve system in the body, the trigeminal system is responsible for sensation in several structures in the body, including the ears, eyes, nose, mouth and meninges. Researchers note that the fear and angst associated with orofacial pain from this specific nerve is likely a cause of dentist phobia.;

Inversely, a toothache may accompany an ear or sinus infection because of the proximity of teeth to sinuses. The back top teeth are located right below the sinuses. When those sinus cavities become infected or inflamed, the pressure can radiate pain within the mouth.;

The Cure For An Ear Infection Or Sinusitis

What is sinus induced toothache and how to relieve it?

The good news is that your teeth should be fine, even if you have multiple ear or sinus infections that result in tooth pain. As far as treatment goes, often these infections will resolve themselves on their own over time. The pain that results can be treated with over-the-counter medicines, including pain killers, saline sprays, or nasal decongestants, or even home remedies. Antibiotics may be required for persistent infections that do not resolve on their own, but because of overuse of antibiotics, doctor often take a wait and see approach first.

If you have tooth pain, particularly in your upper molars, your dentist can help you discover the cause. Keep in mind that he may advise that you see a doctor instead if he sees that your teeth and gums look healthy and problem free. Your problem may very well be sinusitis or an ear infection instead.

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What Your Toothache May Be Telling You

Weve all had a slight toothache at some point in our lives, but many people dont realize that these seemingly minor toothaches can actually be indicators of more serious problems. Of course many minor toothaches really are minor and unproblematic, but without the help of Dr. James A. Wells it is impossible to tell which toothaches are harmless and which ones can be truly dangerous. Most toothaches are caused by dental problems, but some people will be surprised to learn that certain kinds of toothaches can be caused by problems that are completely unrelated to oral health. Most of the aches caused by dental problems can easily be taken care of by Dr. Wells, but there are serious non-dental issues which need to be looked at by a physician.

Dental Causes:

Inflamed tooth. An inflamed tooth can happen when a person has a cavity that has gone unchecked. The decay in the tooth reaches down to the pulp of the tooth inside the gum. The decay and bacteria cause inflammation of the pulp and surrounding gums. The gums and pulp are where the nerve endings of the teeth are and this is what causes the tooth pain. This problem can usually be easily fixed by fixing the cavities caused by the decay.

Non-Dental Causes:

Oral Health Problems That Lead To Ear Pain

Sometimes, an ear infection can cause tooth pain. In other instances, dental problems can lead to earaches. When determining the cause of your pain, Dr. Mortensen will examine your mouth, and discuss your symptoms and medical history with you.

For the majority of patients, these dental conditions can be the source of ear pain.

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S To Prevent Ear Infections

If your child has had several ear infections already, or you simply wish to lower their risk of getting ear infections in the first place, here are some ways to prevent or at least lessen the frequency and severity of ear infections:

1. Breastfeeding

There is no doubt whatsoever in the medical literature that prolonged breastfeeding lowers your childs chances of getting ear infections.

2. Daycare setting

Continuous exposure to other children increases the risk that your child will catch more colds, and consequently more ear infections. Crowded daycare settings are a set up for germ sharing. If possible, switch your child to a small, home daycare setting. This will lower the risk.

3. Control allergies

If you think allergies are contributing to your childs runny nose and, consequently, ear infections, click on allergies to find out more about how to minimize your childs allergies.

4. Feed your baby upright

Lying down while bottle-feeding can cause the milk to irritate the Eustachian tube which can contribute to ear infections.

5. Keep the nose clear

When a runny nose and cold start, do your best to keep the nose clear by using steam, saline nose drops and suctioning. Also, try Xlear® nasal spray which contains xylitol that can help prevent viruses and bacteria from attaching in your childs nose. See colds for more info on clearing the nose.

6. Cigarette smoke

7. Echinacea

This is an herb that can safely and effectively boost the immune system. Read for more information.

When Does A Toothache Require Antibiotics

What is Causing My Tooth and Ear Pain? | This Morning

When the dental infection is severe or impacts the gum around an erupting tooth, your dentist may recommend antibiotics. For instance, pericoronitis is an infection in the gum tissue that can develop around impacted wisdom teeth, as Merck Manuals explains. Patients with this condition may be given antibiotics as part of their treatment.

Additionally, if your dentist notices signs of a dental abscess a tooth infection that can develop from an untreated cavity, they may recommend antibiotics.

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Identifying And Treating Ear Infections In Children

Your child has a bothersome cold for a week. Their nasal discharge turns a little green and their cough starts to keep you all up at night. Then one night they are up every hour extremely fussy with a fever. You take them to the doctor the next morning, almost certain they have another ear infection.Ear infections in children are one of the most worrisome illnesses for both parents and children to go through, especially if they are frequent. They also are the most common reason for antibiotic prescriptions. Heres a guide to help you understand why ear infections occur, how to best treat them, and most importantly, how you can prevent them from happening too often.

Overcoming Tooth And Ear Pain

If you have tooth and ear pain on the same side, theres a really good chance that you have something like TMJ disorder or a sinus infection going on. Since your TMJ, teeth, ears, and sinuses are all so close to each other, its common to experience referred pain that is coming from one area or the other.

However, issues such as swimmers ear, arthritis, or abscessed teeth can in rare cases cause similar symptoms. If your pain is severe and doesnt go away through routine home care, speak to your dentist or physician to get an accurate diagnosis and specific treatment plan.

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How Do Ear Infections In Children Occur

Heres an anatomy lesson

The ear is divided into three parts: the outer ear canal, the middle ear space where infections occur, and the inner ear where the nerves and balance center are. A thin, membranous eardrum divides the outer and middle ear. The middle ear space contains the small bones that conduct the vibrations of the eardrum to the brain and is also connected to the back of the nose via the Eustachian tube.

Immature Eustachian tube

In infants and young children, this tube is much shorter and is angled. It is therefore much easier for bacteria to migrate from the nose and throat up into the middle ear space. As the child grows, this tube becomes more vertical, so germs have to travel upward to reach the middle ear. This is one-reason children outgrow ear infections.


When your child has a cold, the nasal passages get swollen and mucus collects in the back of the nose. This environment is a breeding ground for the bacteria that normally live in the nose and throat to begin to overgrow. Mucus is also secreted within the middle ear space just as it is in the sinuses.

Bacterial invasion

Germs migrate up through the Eustachian tube and into the middle ear space where they multiply within the mucus that is stuck there. Pus begins to form and soon the middle ear space is filled with bacteria, pus, and thick mucus.

Ear pain

Diminished hearing

Is Your Pain A Sinus Infection Or A Toothache

Wisdom Tooth Infections & Ear Infections

Is it a toothache or a sinus infection?

Youve woken up to a throbbing feeling in your upper jaw, and you are pretty sure its a toothache or a sinus infection. Should you make an appointment with your doctor or your dentist? Because the roots of the upper teeth are often close to the sinus, the origin of the pain can be confusing you and making you unsure of whats happening. Here are some considerations that might help you decide which healthcare professional you need to see.

Referred Pain

The reason youre not sure where your pain is coming from is because the nerves in the face are situated so close to one another. Sometimes, an ear infection, a migraine headache, or even a problem in the lower jaw can cause pain in what feels like an upper tooth. Pain doesnt usually cross the midline of the face, but anything going on on the left side of your face or head can cause pain in the teeth on the left . Its not uncommon for a patient to go to their primary care physician for what turns out to be a tooth problem or for someone to go to their dentist for what ends up being a sinus or ear infection. So if you are in pain, make your best guess and go to whichever provider you think is the right one; if youre mistaken, youll simply be referred to the other.

Sinus Infection Symptoms

Toothache Symptoms

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Can Problems With My Teeth Cause Ear Pain

Earache and toothache can have similar symptoms for a lot of people and it could be hard to differentiate where the pain is coming from. Some earaches can originate from severe tooth inflammation. We call this referred pain. When determining the cause of your pain, Dr Jegatha Thiru will examine your mouth, check your medical history and discuss her findings with you.

What Happens When I Go To The Dentists Office For My Toothache

Temporary, home-made pain relief wont be enough if your toothache is progressing. Call your dental professional when it becomes clear that the problem in your mouth is getting worse despite your best efforts.

At the office your dental team will review your medical history. Youll be asked questions like:

  • Where is the pain located?
  • When did it start?
  • How severe is it?
  • What makes the pain worse and what gives you relief?

The dental team will also do a physical exam. Theyll check your mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose and neck. Youll probably get X-rays of your mouth taken to help show the cause of your toothache.

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Cavities Periodontal Disease Or Abscesses

When it comes to tooth and ear pain, the most frequent types of dental issues to cause referred ear pain are those associated with infected upper back teeth . If there is an abscessed tooth, serious gum disease, or a severe area of tooth decay, the pain can seem as if its coming from the ear.

  • Symptoms

    This type of tooth pain can range from dull, chronic aches to sharp, acute pain. There may also be swelling along the gums, or visible fistulas that give off a salty taste as they come and go. Gums may bleed when youre brushing and flossing.

  • Treatment

    The best type of treatment will depend on the specific type of tooth infection you have. For periodontitis, that would be a deep cleaning and any other gum therapies. For cavities, you would probably need a filling. Abscessed teeth will typically need endodontic therapy if they can be saved. More serious stages of these infections might require a tooth extraction.;

How To Differentiate A Toothache From An Earache

How to Treat a Sinus Toothache

Inevitably, there is crossover between the symptoms of a toothache and those from an earache. However, there are some defining differences between pain from a tooth or the jaw and pain caused by an earache or sinus blockage:

  • Headaches suggest a toothache. While not a guarantee, tooth and ear pain alongside a headache generally indicates a tooth problem, likely a cavity or other tooth decay.
  • Cold or flu symptoms suggest sinus infection. Ear and tooth pain alongside symptoms thought to be from a cold or the flu could be signs of a sinus infection or an earache.
  • Consider past history. Those who have chronic ear infections are more likely to be dealing with an ear infection. Likewise, those who have experienced toothaches as the result of dental work, decay, or infection should contact their dentist.;

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Sinus Infection Tooth Pain

Sinus tooth pain is fairly common, according to dental experts at the Mayo Clinic. Sinus infection tooth pain occurs when the fluid that builds up in the sinus cavities during a sinus infection puts pressure on your upper teeth, which are close to the maxillary sinuses.If you have sinus tooth pain, you may need to see a doctor to manage your sinus condition.Sinus infection tooth pain might occur suddenly and usually feels like a dull ache, like something pressing down on your teeth. Or you might notice tooth sensitivity when chewing. Sinus infection tooth pain also can occur if you dont have a full-blown sinus infection. You might notice tooth pain similar to sinus infection tooth pain if you simply have a bad head cold and sinus congestion rather than a full-blown sinus infection.Some conditions that can cause pain in the upper teeth may be confused with sinus tooth pain. Even if you think your tooth pain is related to your sinuses and should be treated by a doctor, see a dentist to rule out dental problems including:

  • Tooth Damage:;A fractured or decayed tooth near the sinus cavity has similar symptoms to sinus tooth pain.
  • Tooth Grinding:;Tooth grinding can cause pain similar to sinus tooth pain.
  • Gum Disease:;The early stages of gum disease can also cause pain similar to sinus tooth pain.

Treating Middle Ear Infections

You may be prescribed antibiotics. Some antibiotics may be taken orally. Others can be applied directly to the site of the infection with ear drops. Medications for pain, such as over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used to manage your symptoms.

If youre still experiencing cold or allergy symptoms, you may be advised to take a , nasal steroids, or an antihistamine.

Another helpful technique is called autoinsufflation. Its meant to help clear your eustachian tubes. You do this by squeezing your nose, closing your mouth, and very gently exhaling. This can send air through the eustachian tubes to help drain them.

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Bacteria And Tooth Decay

To understand why your dentist might prescribe antibiotics for a toothache, you must first understand how bacteria contribute to tooth decay and toothaches. Without regular, twice-daily brushing with proper technique, the bacteria in your mouth can grow and turn the foods you eat into acid that then gets deposited on your teeth. This promotes cavity formation and tooth decay. As the American Dental Association explains, frequent sugar intake can especially fuel the bacteria that break down tooth structure. The type of bacteria that primarily cause cavities is Streptococcus mutans, as a study in PLOS ONE notes.

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