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10 Reasons a Toothache Occurs


Experiencing a toothache can be an excruciating ordeal, ranging from a throbbing sensation to an intense shooting pain that extends to the jaw and ear. Living with a toothache can impede basic functions such as eating, speaking, and resting.

Below, you’ll find ten possible reasons why your tooth hurts.

10 Reasons a Toothache Occurs

1. Tooth Decay

This is a very common cause. When accumulated plaque isn’t cleared by brushing and flossing, it generates acids that erode enamel. Tooth decay can advance and affect the dentin layer beneath the enamel. In more serious instances, it may penetrate the pulp, where nerves and blood vessels are, resulting in tooth discomfort.

2. Gum Disease

Gum disease arises mainly from infection by bacteria that impacts both the gums and supportive tooth bones. Poor oral hygiene habits, leading to plaque buildup, often cause this disease. Failure to address this can result in inflamed, infected gums which can cause unbearable pain.

3. Tooth Fracture

A tooth fracture can transpire from an injury or trauma, or while biting on a firm item. This type of fracture may bring about pain and extreme tooth sensitivity when consuming food.

4. Teeth Grinding

Grinding your teeth may result in the gradual erosion of the enamel – that tough, safeguarding outer layer of a tooth – and eventually lead to tooth sensitivity. When the inner dentin layer is exposed, the condition may worsen. Dentin contains minuscule tube-like structures that channel to the tooth’s nerve. As a result, when it’s uncovered, discomfort or pain may occur. Oral appliances provided by your dentist can be a solution for this issue.

5. Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth have the potential to cause pain. This occurs when they are unable to emerge properly due to a lack of space and may grow at strange angles or become impacted. This means that they become trapped beneath the gums and cannot fully emerge. In cases where wisdom teeth grow at an angle or become impacted, they can press against neighboring teeth, resulting in discomfort and pain.

6. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder

When the hinge joint connecting the jawbone and the skull is impacted, TMJ develops. This causes discomfort and hinders proper chewing. This condition affects the muscles and joints responsible for jaw movement.

Woman with a toothache

7. Sinus Infection

Sinusitis is caused by inflammation and swelling of the tissues lining the sinuses. Sinuses are small, air-filled cavities located in the skull around the nose and eyes. Deeply decayed teeth could be a possible cause of this condition. Blocked or infected sinuses result in facial pain.

8. Oral Cancer

A toothache can signal a more serious condition such as oral cancer. If you’re experiencing unremitting pain or inflammation, or any other inexplicable symptoms, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with your trusted dentist. The excruciating pain might possibly be from oral cancer.

9. Dental Procedures

Certain dental procedures, such as root canals or tooth extractions, can cause short term tooth sensitivity and tenderness. This can eventually lead to toothache.

10. Dental Abscess

Dental abscess is a distressing infection that affects the tooth or gum region. Generally, bacteria invade through an opening or cavity, which triggers the immune system to send white blood cells to combat the infection, resulting in swelling, inflammation, and discomfort or pain in the affected tissue.

Call to Schedule

Our office is available to answer your questions and evaluate your symptoms.

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148 N Grand Ave
West Covina, CA 91791
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