Your Guide To Toothaches

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Teeth are incredibly important, but lots of the food and beverages you consume promote tooth decay. However, there are many other causes of tooth pain. If you would like to know more, keep reading.

What Causes Toothaches? 

There are many reasons you may have a toothache, and some of them are incredibly benign but others indicate a bigger issue.

Tooth Sensitivity

If you have pain when you drink extremely cold or hot beverages, you may have tooth sensitivity, which may indicate thinning enamel. However, this may also indicate a cavity.


Cavities are caused by plaque, which is the sugary residue left behind after you eat and drink. Saliva gets rid of some plaque, and brushing and flossing get rid of the rest. However, if you neglect your teeth or have dry mouth, the excess plaque combined with the oral bacteria in your mouth leads to decay as the acid secreted by the bacteria weakens the enamel.

Tooth Infection

If you have severe pain and/or there is severe pain/pressure when you bite down, you may have a tooth infection. Other signs of a tooth infection include:

  • An unpleasant odor
  • Swelling
  • A bitter taste
  • Visible pus if the abscess bursts

A tooth infection develops when that problematic bacterium reaches the tooth's roots and pulp.


You may have toothache from trauma. If you fell and hit your mouth on the floor, it could damage the tooth's pulp, causing the tooth to begin to die. Trauma may also result from tooth grinding at night.

How Are Toothaches Treated?

Toothaches are treated based on the cause and severity. If your teeth are sensitive, fluoride treatments may help, but if you have cavities, you'll need the dead tissue removed and replaced with a filling. If the cavity and filling are particularly large, you may also need a dental crown.

If infection caused the pain, you'll need root canal treatment or extraction. The dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics, and they may send you to a specialist for the root canal treatment. Similarly, if trauma killed the tooth's pulp, the dentist may recommend root canal treatment to prevent infection.

When Should You See an Emergency Dentist?

Whether or not you should see an emergency dentist largely depends on your pain level. If you have extreme pain that prevents you from working, sleeping, or living your life, an emergency dentist may be your best bet.

If the tooth has been severely damaged or even fallen out from trauma, an emergency dentist may be able to save the tooth. Quick treatment may also reduce the risk of infection. If you do have an infection, and it has spread, causing symptoms—like severe facial swelling and flu-like symptoms—it may be best to visit the ER.

Toothaches can make life hard. If left untreated, many toothaches can advance into an infection. If you would like to know more, contact an emergency dentist today.