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

Symptoms and Causes of a Toothache

Symptoms of a toothache can include pain inside or around the tooth, an aching sensation after you’ve eaten or consumed a hot/cold beverage, bad breath (halitosis), fever, swollen glands, and earache.

Toothaches may be caused by cavities or infections, gum disease, dental work, grinding your teeth, and sinus infection.

Symptoms and Causes of an Earache

Symptoms of an earache can include pain in or around the ear, fever, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, sinus problems, hearing difficulty, and trouble balancing.

Earaches may be caused by fluid in the eardrum, infection, injury, blockage, having a cold or flu, or tooth and jaw pain.

As you can see, there's some overlap in how earaches and toothaches present, and this is mainly due to the fact that your sinuses are located very close to your back top teeth - thus, any pressure or pain in the sinuses can affect these teeth and create the illusion that your tooth is aching when it may be your ear that's actually giving you pain.

Here are a few tips to tell the difference between an earache and a toothache:

  • If the pain is accompanied by the presence of a cold or flu, it's more likely to be an earache or sinus infection.
  • The presence of a headache means the likelihood is greater that you have a toothache rather than an earache.
  • Have you been prone to either a headache or a toothache in the past? It's likely that you're experiencing a recurrence of the same now.

Remember, the best way to determine the source of your pain is to see a qualified medical practitioner. Make sure to see your dentist right away if you're diagnosed with a toothache.

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