Why is my Toothache Causing Pain in my Ears?

Albertville, AL

Experiencing a toothache can be daunting and inconvenient. It may begin as an occasional dull ache or manifest into intense throbbing pain. It’s not uncommon for pain associated with a toothache to spread to other nearby areas, such as the ears. In some cases, a toothache may even make you feel like you have an earache to boot. Why do toothaches cause ear pain? Our Albertville emergency dentists at Wall Street Dentistry answer this question on the blog today.

What causes toothaches?

There are many different causes of toothaches. Usually, a tooth will experience pain of varying sensations when the nerve is compromised. This can occur due to a crack or break in the enamel, tooth decay, or an old dental restoration (like a crown or filling) that comes loose or falls out of the tooth. Each of these scenarios could leave the tooth’s nerve vulnerable to bacteria, which over time, may lead to an infection, causing severe pain.

What different types of tooth pain mean

Toothaches range from moderate, occasional zings to throbbing pain that leaves you pacing the living room floor all night. Our family dentists in Albertville recommend addressing any dental pain with the dentist, as treating it early on is likely to prevent you from experiencing uncomfortable pain later on. However, here’s what the different types of tooth pain mean.

Is it an earache or a toothache? How to tell the difference

Ear pain can be differentiated from a toothache by certain symptoms. Earaches often are associated with cold-like symptoms like sinus congestion, sore throat, or a fever, which usually are not related to symptoms of a toothache. However, our emergency dentists in Albertville can examine your teeth to determine if your pain emanates from a single problem tooth or something else.

How a toothache could cause ear pain

Tooth pain sometimes radiates to the ear, and you might mistake this pain for an actual earache. Here’s why this happens. Our teeth are located close to the ears, and one of the face’s most prominent nerve – the trigeminal, runs from the upper and lower jaw, around the jaw joint, and into the head to connect to the spinal column. Nerves are notorious for causing referred pain, which often causes people to confuse the actual source of their pain with the wrong area of their body. Just like sciatic pain in the lower back can lead to leg or foot pain, toothaches can send pain signals to other areas of the head, face, or neck.

Another reason why a toothache may cause ear pain is if the tooth is abscessed. An abscessed tooth is an infection that causes severe pain and swelling. In severe cases that are left untreated, the infection and swelling could spread, causing pain in surrounding teeth and the ears. An abscess is a serious condition that requires treatment by the dentist as soon as possible. Not only is an abscess incredibly painful in most cases, but it also could be life-threatening if the infection spreads to other areas such as the heart or brain. 

Emergency Dentists in Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville

Toothaches are almost never expected and can leave you in a great deal of pain. Instead of rushing to the local emergency room, you should see a dentist for treatment. If you experience dental pain, especially if it radiates to another area of your head, face, or neck, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Wall Street Dentistry. Our Albertville dental office accepts VA patients as well. Please call (256) 878-0525 if you need to see an emergency dentist near you in Albertville, Boaz, or Guntersville.

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