Tracing the Cause of Your Toothache

lady with severe toothacheEven if you never experience tooth decay or gum disease, there’s a good chance that you have, or will, experience tooth sensitivity at some point in your life. Sensitive, aching teeth are one of the most common dental health symptoms, and they can be caused by any number of different issues. To successfully treat your discomfort and find lasting relief, we’ll first have to find the cause of your toothache, which can range from tooth damage, to a dental disease, to something else entirely.

Is your tooth damaged?

Chips, cracks, and fractures are common reasons for teeth to hurt, especially if the damage is severe enough to expose the nerves at the tooth’s center. Usually, you can see or feel the damage to your hurting tooth, though in some minor cases, you might need a professional examination to know for sure.

Do you have a cavity?

A cavity is a small hole in your tooth caused by tooth decay, and like severe damage, it might expose your tooth’s sensitive nerve tissues. In addition, the bacteria that cause cavities can also infect these tissues, resulting in severe discomfort and the need for root canal therapy.

Are your gums receding?

Your gums, or periodontal tissues, protect the roots of your teeth, which extend from the tooth’s inner chamber into the jawbone that supports your teeth. When your gums recede (pull away from your teeth), the roots can be exposed to food debris, bacteria, hot and cold temperatures, and other irritations that can cause them to ache. Gum recession is often a sign of developing gum disease, and should be treated as soon as possible to avoid possible tooth loss.

Are your sinuses stuffed?

Sinus infections, which lead to stuffy, drippy noses and sometimes pressure headaches, could also be a cause of your toothache. Your largest sinuses, called maxillary sinuses, are located close to the roots of your upper teeth. When an infection causes the tissues in your sinuses to swell, they can place pressure on your upper teeth roots, causing toothaches that can mimic dental trouble.


For over 15 years, Dr. Michele 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *