Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Can You Get An Ear Infection From A Toothache

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How An Earache Can Indicate A Dental Problem

How To Figure Out if Your Patient Has a Toothache or Sinus Infection

Depending on the cause and intensity, the pain and tenderness from an infected or decayed tooth can extend beyond the tooth and feel like a headache or earache. In fact, many common dental and oral health problems can result in symptoms, like ear pain. A dental exam is necessary to determine the cause of your symptoms, so you should schedule an appointment if your pain intensifies or lasts for more than a few days. Our dentist Dr. Mehrnoosh Darj offers cosmetic and general dentistry services in El Paso, Texas and surrounding areas for all your oral health care needs.

Symptoms Of Tooth Infection Spreading To The Brain

A dental abscess can also travel to the brain, leading to the development of another abscess. If the infection reaches your brain, it can be life-threatening.

Since a brain abscess is so dangerous, the condition requires a visit to the hospital or emergency room for urgent treatment. A brain abscess is relatively rare but can occur if the dental infection is left untreated.

Symptoms of a brain abscess :

  • Going in and out of consciousness


Dental abscesses can lead to brain abscesses . This is why you should never leave them untreated. Vision changes and body weakness on one side are common with brain abscesses.

Treating Outer Ear Infections

The outer ear should be carefully cleaned. That should be followed by the application of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory medications on your ear.

Antibiotics may be prescribed if your doctor determines that the infection is bacterial.

If the infection is fungal, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal medication.

If you have a viral infection, you may simply need to tend to the irritation on your ear and wait for the infection to resolve itself. Depending on the type of virus involved, more specialized treatment may be necessary.

To help prevent an ear infection of any kind, follow these tips:

  • Make sure you dry your ears completely after swimming or taking a shower.
  • Try quitting smoking, and limit or avoid secondhand smoke when possible.
  • Manage your allergies by avoiding triggers and keeping up with allergy medications.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly, and try to limit contact with people who have colds or other upper respiratory problems.
  • Make sure your vaccines are up to date.

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The Basics Of Infected Wisdom Teeth

An impacted wisdom tooth occurs when the tooth is blocked from fully erupting through the gum tissue. This often leads to the tooth being angled instead of being upright. A variety of additional issues can occur if an impacted wisdom tooth is not removed quickly.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted or fails to erupt fully, it can lead to infection. If a wisdom tooth begins to push on the neighboring molar, it can lead to tooth movement. Gaps and spaces between your teeth are then formed, which are not easily cleaned while brushing. As a result, these spaces become ideal for food and bacteria to collect, which eventually leads to cavities and tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay leads to infection, which can quickly spread throughout the mouth.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Tooth Infection

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You may only experience toothache and sensitivity in the early stages of a dental infection. However, it will go away if you take any pain medication.

If the underlying problem is not treated in a timely fashion, the infection can lead to the formation of a tooth abscess. According to the National Health Service, an abscess is a pus-filled cavity that forms around infected teeth, gums, or the bone that supports our teeth. Dental abscesses are not only painful, but they indicate a severe infection that should not be overlooked. According to the American Dental Association, some of the symptoms of a tooth infection include:

  • Swelling and redness of the face on the side of the affected tooth
  • Severe, throbbing pain in the affected tooth
  • The pain may also radiate towards the ears, jaws or neck on the same side
  • Tender and mobile teeth
  • Shiny, red, and swollen gums
  • Pus discharge from the affected tooth
  • Bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty in chewing or opening mouth

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How To Tell The Difference Between Earache And Toothache

Experiencing a toothache or an earache can be irritating and painful, but not knowing how to identify whether you are experiencing a toothache or an earache can be even more irritating and painful.

For a lot of people, earache and toothache might come with similar symptoms and it might be difficult to tell them apart. While toothache can be caused by infections, cavities, gum disease or trauma to tooth, earaches are often caused by fluid in the eardrum, ear infection, injury or cold and flu.

Teething Can Be Confused With Baby Ear Infections

When your toddler starts tugging on his ear, you may assume that’s a telltale sign of an ear infection. He might do the same thing, though, if he’s cutting teeth nerves in the back teeth branch out to the middle ear, so it can feel like his pain is coming from his ear.

If he has a fever and seems to be most uncomfortable lying down, it’s more likely he has an ear infection, says Dr. Dempsey. Red, swollen gums are a sign of teething. In general, the symptoms of ear infections could describe a variety of illnesses or a child who’s just having a bad day: He might push his food away, have trouble sleeping, or cry more than usual.

But if your instincts tell you that there’s something wrong, especially if your child has a fever, it makes sense to have your pediatrician take a look.

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Antibiotics Are Not Always The Answer

About 60 percent of ear infections are believed to be bacterial the other 40 percent are sparked by viruses and can’t be cured by antibiotics.

In 2004, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians jointly issued guidelines for treating acute ear infections in kids. The main message to doctors: Hand out fewer unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics, and give the body’s immune system a chance about two to three days to fight off the infection on its own. Studies have shown that approximately 80 percent of middle-ear infections in children go away without antibiotics in a week or so, and about 60 percent of kids have fewer symptoms after 24 hours, whether they take antibiotics or not.

“Watchful waiting” is appropriate for a healthy child between 6 months and 2 years of age when her symptoms aren’t severe and her doctor isn’t sure after looking in her ear that there’s an infection. It’s also appropriate for kids over 2 without severe symptoms.

During the waiting period, your pediatrician will probably suggest a pain reliever such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or anesthetic ear drops. If your child’s symptoms don’t improve, contact the doctor.

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How Long Does A Tooth Infection Last Without Treatment

How to Get Rid of Ear Pain

Tooth infection left untreated can lead to severe complications, including spreading the infection and dental abscess. It is essential to see a dentist or doctor as soon as possible if you think you have an infection from tooth decay. Treatment for a tooth infection usually includes antibiotics and pain relievers. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

If you have an infected tooth, dont wait to see a dentist. Tooth infections can quickly become severe and cause permanent damage.

Antibiotic treatment for a tooth infection may include:




Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve pain caused by a tooth infection. Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the infected tooth or surrounding tissue. If the infection has spread to the jawbone, a piece of bone may need to be removed. Tooth extraction is a standard surgical procedure used to draw an infected tooth. After the tooth is removed, the area will be cleaned and stitched closed.

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Even Without Symptoms The Infection Wont Go Away Without Treatment

If you have a tooth infection but donât have any symptoms, you might think itâs okay to forgo treatment. However, even if you arenât having any symptoms, the tooth abscess and infection wonât go away without treatment .

The infection will eventually get worse, or, if you have another illness that requires your immune systemâs attention, you may suddenly be symptomatic. Severe tooth infections rarely happen overnightâtypically, these infections have been occurring for some time and are just now presenting symptoms.

Getting treatment is essential because the infection can spread to the tissues around the tooth, and may even enter the bloodstream, at which point it can become life-threatening .

Can A Tooth Infection Spread: When To Need A Doctor

The truth is, not all tooth infection needs a doctors appointment, your dentist can easily address your concerns if your infection or tooth decay gets diagnosed early. Of course, as we always say, prevention is better than cure. Having your regular dental appointment lets your dentist monitor your dental cavity and see any signs of developing risks become problems even happen.

However, if you have been dealing with a stubborn tooth infection and you suddenly feel the following symptoms, it would be best to consult a doctor immediately:

  • Severe swelling

If any of these symptoms surface during your tooth infection battle, do not hesitate to get immediate medical help as this may signal severe and systemic issues.

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What Causes Tooth Infection

When healthy, our teeth are covered by a tough, mineralised layer called the enamel, which protects the underlying softer layer of the tooth, the dentin and pulp. The innermost pulp layer of the tooth contains nerves and blood vessels that provide innervation and nourishment to our teeth.

Things get complicated when one starts to ignore their oral hygiene routine. As a result, a fine layer of food and bacterial debris forms on the surface of the teeth. This layer, called the plaque, gradually hardens and becomes the dental calculus. Both the calculus and plaque offer an excellent breeding environment for harmful bacteria. These bacteria utilise the sugars from the plaque and calculus and release toxins that damage the enamel layer of the teeth and expose the underlying dentin and pulp.

At this point, you will only be sensitive to hot and cold foods. However, if this condition is not treated timely, bacteria penetrate the teeth and lead to an infection of the dental pulp. The only option to save the affected tooth is to perform a root canal treatment procedure. You can know more about root canal treatments by visiting the website of the British Endodontic Society.

Symptoms Of A Dental Abscess


Depending on the type of dental abscess and how long it has been progressing, common symptoms may include:

  • Severe toothache and throbbing near the affected tooth that comes and goes spontaneously
  • Pain in the gums, roots of the tooth, or referred pain
  • Painful, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and/or jaw
  • Redness, swelling, and inflammation near the abscess
  • Swollen, inflamed, and shiny gums
  • Pain that worsens when lying down and interrupts sleep
  • Tooth sensitivity to cold, sweet, or hot substances
  • Consistent bad breath, even after brushing or rinsing the mouth
  • A loose tooth or multiple loose teeth near the infection site
  • Severe ear, neck, and/or jaw pain
  • Pain when biting down or chewing
  • Difficulties swallowing and breathing
  • Facial swelling

If the abscess ruptures, you may notice a foul taste and smell in your mouth. You will also feel pain relief in the infected tooth. If this occurs, call your general dentist immediately.

If you experience severe pain and difficulty breathing, call your local emergency department or 9-1-1.


The primary symptom of a dental abscess is severe pain near the infection site. Swelling, redness, and inflammation around the abscess are also common.

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Dental Issues That Can Cause Earaches

Dental pain can be deceptive. Common oral health problems, like an abscessed tooth, an impacted wisdom tooth or molar, or even a cavity, can result in an earache. If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, or have joint issues, like temporomandibular joint disorder or arthritis, you may also experience tightness in the jaw and pain that reaches up to your ears. In fact, many people mistakenly believe that their ear pain is caused by a problem, like an ear infection or wax buildup, only to learn that they actually need to visit the dentist.

How Do You Tell If A Tooth Infection Is Killing You

When the swelling from the tooth infection spreads down towards your throat thus effectively closing off your airway space rendering you unable to breathe, youll know that the tooth infection is trying to kill you. Although you may be unconscious at this point. What this looks like is very severe swelling that involves your throat. The swelling will be so big that your face will look disfigured and deformed looking.

Do not be mistaken because a tooth infection with this amount of swelling is a real medical emergency and it IS life threatening. Dont walk to the nearest hospital, run to the nearest one or call 911 for assistance.

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Are Toothaches And Earaches Connected

Not all pain in the face and jaw is directly related to the teeth. Sometimes the root cause of these pains may be another factor. This type of earache is called referral pain. Referral earache is a type of earache that does not originate in the ear itself and is heard elsewhere. Sometimes it is possible for a person with ear pain to see a doctor, and the doctor will determine where the main source of the pain is.

Common Causes Of Tooth And Ear Pain

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Does tooth and ear pain on the same side flare up at random times, or does it align with things such as swimming and sleeping? Does it happen on both sides?

Depending on your daily habits, exercise routine, and medical history, there are several different reasons behind jaw, tooth, and ear pain. Here are some of the most common scenarios to be aware of:

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Can Toothache Cause Earache

Toothache can be fooled. Typical oral health issues such as abscessed teeth, wisdom teeth, molars, and even tooth decay can cause earaches. If you rub your teeth, clenching your jaws, such as temporomandibular joints or arthritis, you may also feel tension and pain in your jaw that reach to your ears. Many people falsely believe that ear infections and earwax buildup cause earache, but they know they need to see a dentist.

When To See Your Dentist

Not all toothaches become serious health concerns. But if youre experiencing a toothache, its best to get treatment before it gets worse.

  • pain when chewing or biting

If you have a broken tooth or if a tooth comes out, see your dentist right away.

While youre waiting to see the dentist, you might find relief by:

  • avoiding hot or cold drinks and food
  • avoiding chewing on the side of the tooth ache
  • eating only cool, soft foods

Youre at risk of tooth infection if you dont have good dental hygiene. Take good care of your teeth by:

If untreated, a tooth infection could potentially travel to other areas of your body, resulting in a potentially life-threatening infection. Signs of a tooth infection spreading to the body may include:

  • increased breathing rate

Last medically reviewed on May 28, 2019

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  • Dental abscess. .

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Ear And Sinus Infections

What are the symptoms of an ear infection? They are earache, fever, dizziness, nausea, and, yes, tooth pain. Your ears, nose, and throat are all connected, so its easy for pain to radiate out from one area into another one. Both jaw and tooth pain can be a sign that something is wrong in your ear .

Bacteria build up is what causes ear infections, but its not caused by bacteria that originates in your mouth and on your teeth. You cant get rid of jaw or tooth pain by brushing your teeth more. The ear infection must subside so that the pain the body sends as a sign that something is wrong goes away.

The same thing is true for sinus infections. Its similarly easy to mistake a sinus infection for a cavity. If you feel congested or your nose feels clogged, and your teeth also hurt, this could be a sinus infection. The sinuses are hollow cavities in your face, and if mucus builds up in them when you have a cold or the flu, this creates a great atmosphere for bacteria to flourish. The maxillary sinuses are located near your upper molars, and its very easy to mistake sinus pain for tooth pain.

How To Differentiate A Toothache From An Earache

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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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