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.
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 (TMJ) 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.
When to see the dentist
Ideally, you should go to the dentist every six months to a year on average for preventive dental care, including a check-up and dental cleaning according to the American Dental Association (ADA). If you have ongoing oral health problems or have a higher risk for periodontal (gum) disease or underlying medical problems, like heart disease or diabetes, Dr. Darj may recommend more frequent visits.
But emergencies happen and some dental problems require immediate attention. Pain is usually the main sign that something’s wrong, so you shouldn’t wait more than a day or two to schedule an appointment if the pain persists.
Other signs of an oral health problem include:
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Receding gums
- Signs of infection, like pus, blisters, or sores on the gums or inside your mouth
- Jaw pain
- Hot and cold sensitivity
- Trouble chewing your food
- Loose teeth
- Changes to your bite (how your teeth fit together when you close your mouth)
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a toothache or an earache, so it’s important not to ignore your symptoms to ensure that you get timely and accurate treatment. If you have an infection, you may need prescription medication to clear it up.
In the case of tooth decay or gum disease, the earlier you get treatment the better. Waiting too long can make your symptoms worse, and increase your risk of permanent damage or even tooth loss.
If you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms of an oral health problem, don’t wait to get help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Darj at our office in El Paso, Texas.