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While decay often is cited as the primary cause of a toothache, it's important for you to have a complete oral examination to determine the cause. Other dental causes of a toothache include: infection, gum disease, grinding teeth (bruxism), tooth trauma and an abnormal bite. Tooth eruption may be the cause of tooth or jaw pain in babies and school-age children.
TMJ, sinus or ear infections and tension in the facial muscles can cause discomfort that resembles a toothache, but often these health problems are accompanied by a headache. Pain around the teeth and the jaws can be symptoms of heart disease such as angina. If your dentist suspects a medical illness could be the cause of your toothache, he or she may refer you to a physician.
Reviewed: January 2012
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