5 Common Causes of Toothache.


    Posted by Dr. William Linger, DDS, MAGD

    causes of toothache

    You're chewing on something hard or cold, and you feel it: a sharp pain in your tooth. Maybe that pain lingers, making it impossible to chew or even keeping you up at night.  If you're experiencing pain in your teeth, it may be because of one of these common causes of toothache:


    The simplest explanation is often the most common. Cavities can be painful. If the decay is extensive, the root may be exposed, making the tooth sensitive to pressure and temperature changes; you may have to avoid chewing on the affected side until the problem is corrected. Fortunately, this is easily fixed with a filling.

    Losing a Filling

    Sometimes, fillings can break or come out. Perhaps it's an old filling, or maybe you bit into something exceptionally hard or sticky. In this case, you'll have a hole in your tooth where the filling used to be and, depending on the depth of the cavity, the root may be exposed. Again, the simple solution is to refill the tooth.


    As Mayo Clinic explains, "A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that's caused by a bacterial infection." Abscesses can happen if a cavity is left untreated, as the result of an injury, or because of ongoing poor dental hygiene; they will not go away on their own.

    A root canal may required after treating the infection. This is a common procedure, and we may be able to use it to save the tooth. In some cases, we may have to remove the tooth.

    Gum Disease

    This inflammation of your gums can cause bleeding, soreness, painful chewing, and eventually even the loss of the affected teeth. Prevention with proper brushing, flossing, and professional checkups and cleanings is key.

    Keep in mind there are a few factors that can cause gum disease, including family history, smoking, certain diseases, and certain medications. Talk to your dentist about these risk factors if you are concerned.

    Wisdom Teeth

    As wisdom teeth erupt, they may cause pressure on the other teeth, depending upon how they fit into your jaw; this may cause toothaches and other issues with your bite. Wisdom teeth are commonly removed for this reason. Children may also experience toothache as their baby teeth fall out and their adult teeth grow in.

    Is There a Problem With Your Teeth?

    The obvious symptom of a toothache is, of course, a toothache! Ongoing pain in your teeth—whether it's dull or sharp, steady or in response to chewing or temperature changes—is a clear indication that something is wrong.

    You might also notice swelling, bleeding gums, sensitivity to cold or hot foods (or even air as you breathe through your mouth), or bad breath. In severe cases, you might even experience a fever or trouble swallowing. 

    With those extreme symptoms, you should see your dentist immediately. If the pain is manageable, pay attention to it for a couple of days. If it goes away, you might not have anything to worry about.

    Sometimes food can get lodged between the teeth; this can put pressure on the teeth that leads to a toothache. When the food is removed, the pain goes away. However, if the pain continues, you will want to schedule an appointment as soon as you can.

    The earlier we can catch an issue with your teeth, the more likely it can be solved simply. A small cavity is not a big deal, but if you let it go long enough, it might be necessary to remove the tooth.

    In Charlotte, Dr. Linger and his caring staff can treat the common causes of toothache. There's no reason to live with a toothache, especially since avoiding treatment can make problem the worse. Contact us to schedule your appointment to find out exactly what's causing your pain and what we can do to fix it.

    Topics: Dentistry

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