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Toothaches – Causes, Complications, Solutions

Excerpt: A toothache is a general term that refers to any pain or soreness felt in your teeth, it could be in one tooth or many...
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Tooth Aches

Tooth aches are a common symptom of many oral health issues. If you are feeling pain or discomfort in any part of your mouth, it is often considered a more serious symptom.

Toothache facts!

  • Toothaches are a common early warning sign among many dental issues.
  • A toothache may go away on it’s own, or it could be incredibly severe!
  • Having proper oral care is the best way to prevent a toothache.

A toothache is a general term that refers to any pain or soreness felt in your teeth, it could be in one tooth or many, it might indicate a serious dental health issue, or you could just have slightly over-sensitive teeth. If you do have a toothache that is in severe pain you should immediately call your dentist. If you’re wondering about some of the potential causes and complications of toothaches, we wrote this blog specifically for you.

How do you know you have a toothache?

Toothaches are one of the easier dental issues to identify, although you may confuse a toothache with gum soreness, especially if the affected area is right below the tooth (this is still an issue that a dentist should check out. 


Specific toothache symptoms include:


  • Throbbing pain or gum swelling in or around the affected tooth.
  • In some serious cases, it can result in an unexplained fever.
  • Sharp pain when pressure is applied through biting, or pressure on the tooth.
  • Oversensitivity to hot or cold food or drink
  • Shooting, stabbing, or burning sensation (often a symptom of nerve damage)
Woman with toothache

Common causes of toothaches

Toothaches have many causes since pain is often one of the first noticeable symptoms of many dental health concerns.

Tooth decay

Sub-optimal dental care is very common among current and prospective patients. If you overlook the care of your teeth it will almost certainly promote decay. Tooth decay is a result of the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth, this bacteria produces acid from carbs, and that acid will erode away the enamel on your teeth. 

Some early symptoms of tooth decay include:

  • Cavities – Blackish, brown spots on your teeth where the enamel is being eroded away.
  • Sensitivity – If the enamel is weakened or a root is exposed, the tooth will become more sensitive.
  • Pain – You may have an infection in or around your tooth that will cause it to have an ache.
  • Gum inflammation – The infection can cause swelling, puffy gums around your teeth.
  • Bleeding gums – Bacteria may cause an infection in your gums which will result in gingivitis.

Dental abscess

A dental abscess is the result of the inner pulp being infected by the bacteria build up in your mouth. This is a very serious situation where the dentist will most likely recommend root canal therapy or extraction of the infected tooth. If this infection is left untreated, the bacteria can even get into the gums and jawbone.

Tooth sensitivity

Some people may have naturally sensitive teeth, this is not a result of decay, but rather a result of genetics. If this is your scenario, you can buy sensitive toothpaste and mouthwash which will help lessen the over-sensitivity to your teeth. Also, it’s recommended that you minimize your intake of overly hot or cold food and beverages.

Fractures in your teeth

If you break your teeth, it may result in a toothache if the fracture is bad enough. This is because it will expose the inner parts of your teeth that are incredibly sensitive. Even if the broken tooth does not hurt, you should get it fixed as it may result in a weakened tooth or a sharp tooth that can cut or damage your mouth.

Plaque and tartar build-up

The bacteria in your mouth will cause plaque to form, eventually, this plaque will harden into tartar (calculus), if there is enough calculus it can cause gum recession, resulting in exposure of your roots.

Are you experiencing a toothache?

It never hurts to call Smiles Dental Group to get it checked out! Acting early may result in saving yourself from a more serious issue!

Solutions to common toothache causes

  • Dental Abscess – Root canal, or dental extraction of the infected tooth.
  • Tooth Sensitivity – Better dental care, or use of sensitive tooth products.
  • Fractures In Your Teeth – Dentist appointment so the dentist can repair it.
  • Plaque And Tartar Build-Up – Depending on the severity, you may need teeth scaling and root planing.

How do I prevent toothaches?

As always, prevention is the best medicine for dental issues. Brush, floss, and use mouthwash 2-3 times a day. Pay particular attention to your molars, and in between your teeth so food particles do not get stuck. It may sound silly, but make sure to brush your tongue and gums, this will help to alleviate a lot of bacteria buildup and will help keep your breath fresher for longer!

Frequently asked questions on toothaches

If you do have a toothache, you shouldn’t assume you know what the cause is, but one of the most common causes is tooth decay.

If it’s severe or lasts more than a day or two, a dentist appointment is recommended, however, any toothache may be temporary.

Nope, there are different kinds of pain, and levels of severity.

If the pain feels overly severe to you specifically, then it may an emergency. If it disrupts daily activities, then it’s almost definitely an emergency.

It depends on the toothache, you can definitely prevent them, but you may not be able to reverse the impact.

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