Common Causes of a Toothache

Dr. Perlman examines the mouth of a female patient with a toothache at Elevate Smile Design

If you’ve noticed new or worsening tooth pain, it’s not something you should ignore. There are many possible causes for a toothache, many of which need to be treated right away. Read on to discover a few possible causes of your tooth pain:

  1. Dental Abscess
  2. A dental abscess is caused by a bacterial infection that creates a pocket of pus within the tooth. The buildup of pressure causes pain that can range from moderate to severe. If left untreated, an abscess can spread to neighboring teeth, lead to sinus problems, and result in tooth loss.

  3. Tooth Decay
  4. Teeth begin to decay when bacteria accumulates into a sticky film of plaque and produces acids that break down the outer layer of teeth, called enamel. Once this outer layer is weakened, then the inner layers of the tooth, called the dentin and pulp, are at increased risk for irritation and damage. Advanced decay forms holes, called cavities. Untreated decay and cavities can cause sensitivity, pain, and tooth loss, but are often easily fixed with a simple tooth-colored filling.

  5. Bruxism
  6. Enamel that is weakened or thinned by bruxism, or chronic clenching and grinding, can cause tooth sensitivity. This can lead to a dull ache while eating, chewing, or drinking cold or hot liquids. Fortunately, the negative effects of bruxism can be helped with a nightguard. Consult with our team about getting a custom-fitted nightguard to prevent pain and damage caused by your chronic grinding!

  7. Chipped or Cracked Tooth
  8. If you notice pain in your tooth that has come on suddenly, it may be due to a chip or crack. A chipped or cracked tooth can happen from a variety of activities, such as eating hard foods, a traumatic force to the face, or using your teeth to open packaging (which we do not recommend!). Here at Elevate Smile Design, we can fix damaged teeth in a variety of ways. Treatments like fillings, bonding, veneers, and crowns are all great options we can discuss at your appointment.

  9. Sinus Infection
  10. Sinus infections can sometimes lead to tooth pain, especially on the top row of teeth. That’s because the sinus cavities and the top teeth are only separated by a thin layer of bone. If you have recently had nasal congestion, fever, headache, or other signs of a sinus infection and notice your teeth are also hurting, this could be connected.

    Call us if you notice new or worsening tooth pain. We will get you taken care of ASAP!

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