What causes tooth pain?

What causes tooth pain?

Tooth pain is a type of pain located in or near a tooth that can irritate surrounding gum tissue. Teeth are filled with nerves and tissues that can detect pain in cases of infection or irritation. 

While many toothaches are temporary and can resolve themselves in a short time, some are more serious and require treatment from a dentist. 

Common causes of toothaches

  • Abscessed tooth
  • Damaged fillings
  • Jaw grinding
  • Infection
  • Tooth decay

Symptoms

Common symptoms of tooth decay include acute pain whether constant or due to applied pressure such as when chewing food. Fever and headache, swelling around the area, or bad breath are also common. If you experience any of these symptoms reach out to your dentist.

A few options for short-term relief

  • Rinse mouth with saltwater
  • Wrap ice around a towel and apply it to the area
  • Over the counter pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil

When to see a dentist? 

If home remedies don’t work and your symptoms worsen it’s best to reach out to a dentist. Depending on the nature of the pain, they may fill a cavity, prescribe antibiotics or perform a root canal. They may also review your dental hygiene practices and recommend tried and true routines such as regular brushing, flossing, diet changes, and regular visits. 

A good time to reach out to a dentist is if pain persists over several days, the pain is especially intense, or notice anything unusual such as swelling or pain around the face. Treating issues early can be important to prevent the cause from spreading such as in the bloodstream. When in doubt, reach out to a dentist.