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6 Potential Causes of Your Toothache

Posted on 10/10/2015 by Raymond Liu
A man suffering from a toothache causing him pain.A toothache can be extremely frustrating to deal with, especially if you aren't sure what is causing it. Unfortunately, there are a variety of things that can be causing your teeth to throb, and only a trip to the dentist will be able to determine the exact source of the problem. Knowing about some of the most common causes could possibly help you to prevent future toothaches.


Tooth decay is the single most common cause of a toothache. While small cavities may only affect the outer enamel and may be painless, once decay has had the chance to penetrate into the enamel and impact the inner layer, your tooth will likely become extremely sensitive.

As decay progresses deeper into the pulp, you will likely experience an intense and sharp pain, and if infection occurs, it may also cause death to the pulp. Fortunately, most cavities don't get to this point, and your dentist should be able to detect and treat small cavities before they turn into major and painful problems.


A fall or an accident can also result in painful problems involving the teeth. If you are involved in a traumatic injury, you could break or fracture your teeth, and you might not even notice right away. However, when the fracture line runs into the pulp of the teeth, you are guaranteed to feel a severe toothache, even if the fracture isn't very deep. In these situations, bacteria and plaque can also accumulate in the break and cause further decay.

Misaligned Teeth

When your teeth are crooked or misaligned, you could also experience a toothache. When the teeth aren't aligned properly, the forces on the teeth will be distributed unevenly. The result could be nerve inflammation within the teeth that will result in pain and discomfort. To correct this problem, you may need orthodontic treatment or to have your teeth reshaped so that none of your teeth are being subjected to unnecessary pressure.

Problems with the Wisdom Teeth

If you are feeling pain in the very back of your mouth and you still have your wisdom teeth in place, whether they have erupted through the gums or not, your toothache could be a result of problems with these teeth. If your teeth fail to erupt completely through the gum line, they could be impacted. Likewise, if your wisdom teeth are able to erupt, they may be painful if there is not enough room in your jaw for them to fit properly. These teeth could put pressure on the surrounding teeth, causing a dull ache.

When the wisdom teeth erupt only partially, other problems could result. These teeth are hard to clean, and bacteria will be allowed to accumulate under the gum flap, leading to an infection. The end result could be redness, swelling, and diffuse pain, and severe pain may result if left untreated.


Do you grind your teeth, either at night or during the day when you are experiencing an especially stressful situation? Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can wear down the teeth or cause them to chip, which can result in a toothache. Additionally, tooth grinding will put excess force onto the tissues that support the teeth, causing pain to the teeth and also the surrounding muscles and jaw joints.

Advanced Gum Disease

Gum disease can cause red, swollen gums that bleed easily, but when the condition is advanced, it can result in a toothache in a tooth that was otherwise healthy. Gum infections can cause inflammation to the bone tissues and gums, and a gum abscess can also result in excessive pain around the teeth that might be mistaken for a toothache.

If you are experiencing a persistent toothache, please contact our office to set up an appointment.
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