Exploring the Causes of Toothaches

treating the causes of toothachesA toothache, by definition, is pain or discomfort within a tooth and/or its surrounding structures. The pain can range from minor, resolving on its own, to serious enough that you may require emergency dental care. Unfortunately, dental pain has many triggers, and the causes of toothaches are numerous. Any extreme pain (especially while eating and drinking), sensitivity, throbbing, or swelling in your mouth is not considered normal. If you experience it, then you should visit your dentist as soon as possible to find out what’s wrong, and address it.

Possible Reasons for Your Pain

Because a painful tooth is just a symptom of an underlying condition, it is important to determine what is actually causing your pain in order to treat it.

  • In many cases, a lack of hygiene allows bacteria to flourish and promote tooth decay. Once decay sets in, the sensitive dentin of your tooth may become exposed, causing significant pain, especially when subjected to temperature changes and pressure.
  • Sometimes, bruxism, or grinding your teeth, can cause pain that may radiate from your teeth and into your jaw. Bruxers commonly experience chipped and cracked teeth that can be incredibly painful.
  • Infected gums, or gum disease, can cause pain surrounding your tooth making it seem as though the tooth itself actually hurts.

Common Treatments

If your toothache is a result of poor hygiene, your dentist will help you revamp and improve your hygiene routine to prevent future complications. You may require a filling, or other restoration, to correct any damage that has already occurred. Treatment for bruxism typically involves wearing a special mouth guard while you sleep, to protect your teeth from uneven wear and cracks associated with the constant contracting and relaxing of your jaw. When gum disease causes you pain, you may require a deep periodontal cleaning to remove bacteria from under your gum line. This will allow your gums to heal from the infection, and reattach to your teeth.


For over 15 years, Dr. Michelle Collier and the talented professionals at Waterstone Family Dentistry have provided comfortable, compassionate dental care to patients of all ages from Fuquay Varina, NC, as well as Holly Springs, Angier, Willow Springs, Raleigh, and all surrounding communities. If you’d like to learn more, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Collier by calling (919) 557-5250 today.

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