toothache radiating to chin and ear

Why is my Toothache Radiating to my Ear and Chin?

Dr Devine Oral Care

toothache radiating to chin and earServing Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

Nothing can ruin your day quite like a toothache. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, it can manifest as anything from an occasional throb to a constant, dull ache to sharp, stabbing jolts that can be agonizing. Sometimes, a toothache might even cause pain in other areas—such as your ear and chin. In this article, your Nashville emergency dentists at Devine Dentistry will explore this phenomenon of a toothache radiating to your ear and face and why you should immediately seek dental care if this happens to you.

How do toothaches affect your ear?

You’re likely to experience a toothache and an earache at some point in your life, but these actually can be connected. How can you tell the difference? Your doctor or dentist can determine if a dental issue is the culprit behind ear pain, usually by lightly tapping on a tooth or your gums to see if you feel any soreness.

You can also differentiate ear pain caused by a toothache, as opposed to an earache, by certain symptoms. Earaches usually are accompanied by cold-like symptoms, congestion, loss of appetite, hearing problems, and balance issues—which typically are not symptoms of a toothache.

What does it mean if your toothache is radiating to the ear or chin?

This can be a warning sign that your toothache stems from a serious infection known as a dental abscess. An abscess occurs when oral bacteria enter the tooth’s chamber or nerve and blood supply. Sometimes, a pocket of pus forms, creating a pimple-like bump on the gums. Pain is the most common symptom of a dental abscess. This discomfort might manifest from the tooth, the surrounding gum tissue or radiate to other areas such as the ear, chin, jaw, or elsewhere in the face. Facial swelling may also occur with an abscess.

Left untreated, an abscess will continue to spread and become more serious. If the infected material leeches into your bloodstream, this can lead to major health issues, including sepsis, which can be fatal.

For this reason, it’s important to understand the symptoms of an abscess, which include:

  • Your tooth feeling loose in its socket or appearing to be slightly raised in your mouth
  • Heightened sensitivity to heat, cold, or biting pressure
  • Swelling in the gums, face, or lymph glands in the neck
  • Bleeding gums
  • Running a fever
  • Generally feeling unwell

Treating Toothaches in Nashville

As mentioned, this is a symptom of a dental abscess, and given the potential consequences, you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Problems such as an abscess do not occur when convenient; they can happen at any time. At Devine Dentistry, we understand that you may have dental needs that occur outside of normal business honors. That’s why we offer emergency services, as needed, for our patients in the areas of Belle Meade, Green Hills, and Nashville in Tennessee. We also can treat emergency issues such as broken teeth, dental avulsion, or failing dental restorations, which are also known to cause unexpected toothaches. If you are experiencing a severe toothache, there’s no time to wait. Contact our office as soon as possible by calling (615) 269-4209.