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How To Tell The Difference Between A Toothache And An Earache

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. Failing to tell the difference between these aches can lead to neither of them being treated properly.

Many people confuse whether they are suffering from a toothache or an earache. Sometimes, a toothache and an earache can be related or having overlapping qualities. In order to tell the difference between a toothache and an earache, it is important to know what the symptoms and causes of each are.

  • Toothache Symptoms:
    • Experiencing pain inside or around your tooth
    • Having an aching sensation after eating or consuming hot or cold beverages
    • Halitosis or Bad breath
    • Fever
    • Swollen glands
    • Earache
  • Toothache Causes:
    • Cavities or infections
    • Gum disease
    • Dental work
    • Stuck food
    • Wear and tear from grinding your teeth
    • Sinus infection
  • Earache Symptoms:
    • Pain in or around the ear
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite
    • Sleeping difficulties
    • Sinus problems
    • Difficulty hearing
    • Loss of balance
  • Earache Causes:
    • Fluid in the eardrum
    • Infection
    • Injury
    • Blockage
    • Cold or Flu
    • Tooth or Jaw pain

Your sinuses are in close proximity to your back top teeth. Therefore, any sinus pressure or pain can affect the roots of these teeth which gives the illusion that your tooth is aching. Telling the difference between sinus/ear pain and a toothache is not always easy to identify. The following are a few tips to tell the difference:

  • If you have symptoms of a cold or flu, it is more common that you have a sinus infection or an earache.
  • Having a headache is more commonly associated with leading to an earache than a toothache.
  • Let your medical history dictate. If you have been prone to earaches in the past as opposed to toothaches, you are probably experiencing another earache (and vice-versa).
  • Seek advice from your dentist. They can take proper X-rays and other tests to determine if you are experiencing a toothache or not.

The experience of a toothache or an earache are both unwelcome nuisances. It is important to identify which ailment you are suffering from so that you can receive treatment and care. By knowing the difference between the symptoms and causes of each, you should be able to more readily figure out which you are experiencing. As always, consult your dentist if you have any questions or want a more concrete diagnosis.

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