Tooth Ache

Why does my tooth ache?

Tooth aches is caused by an infection or an inflammation in your tooth.  It may also be caused by tooth root exposure, decay, or trauma.  A tooth ache may arise as sensitivity to cold, sweets, or pressure.  They may also appear as stabbing sharp pain or throbbing discomfort.  Some tooth aches are mild and can be dealt with for years, and others are severe and require immediate medical attention.

Who is at risk for a tooth ache?

Some people are at a higher risk of having tooth aches if they have the following:

  • Receding gums which expose tooth roots
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth trauma from existing filling or crowns, routine dental procedures, sports, teeth grinding, and incorrect bites

How do I prevent a tooth ache?

Never skip your annual dental checkup and cleanings.  Because if an infection is present, it must be treated as early as possible before it becomes a serious health risk.

What can I do about my tooth ache?

Your dentist may suggest the following solutions:

  • Treat your tooth decay
  • Wear a mouthguard when playing sports
  • Wear a nightguard while sleeping if you grind your teeth
  • Treat your incorrect bite
  • Cover exposed tooth roots with gum grafts or dental restorations
  • Treat teeth with fluoride and home care aids to decrease sensitivity of tooth roots

What happens if I choose to do nothing about my tooth ache?

Ignoring a tooth ache may lead to the following problems:

  • Worsening infection or pain that may require a root canal or tooth extraction
  • Continued stress which may cause a tooth fracture (and a complete fracture is extremely painful!)
  • Continued sensitivity may stop you from eating with a peace of mind

Although pain may resolve itself without treatment, it is important to have your oral health evaluated by a dentist who have the tools and expertise to do a proper diagnosis. 

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.