Toothaches are the most common dental complaint in the world. It’s usually the main reason people visit their dentist. Toothaches are caused by a variety of factors, some more unexpected than others.

It is important to remember that the problems that can lead to a toothache can be prevented or treated early. Toothaches usually only occur when the problem has been there for some time and has slowly developed and is now a much larger problem.

Below we look at the top 10 reasons why someone might be experiencing a toothache.

  1. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is by far the most common cause of a toothache. 9 out of 10 patients who visit their dentist complaining of a toothache have tooth decay.

Tooth decay begins with small cavities, which painlessly affect the enamel of the tooth. Once the decay penetrates the enamel and affects the inner layer of the tooth (the dentin), you can experience some pain and sensitivity. Once it reaches the innermost layer (the pulp), it results in sharp and intense pain.


  1. Gum Disease

Gum disease often results in a dull pain in the mouth, bleeding gums, inflammation, redness, and occasionally tooth pain. If left untreated, teeth, gums and bones could be damaged or lost. Gum treatment will be required to clean the pockets of bacteria thoroughly to prevent even more damage to the gums and surrounding bone


  1. Trauma/Fractures

Your teeth may have been cracked or chipped from a fall or during sport, or even from eating something hard or sticky. A severe toothache from physical trauma means that the fracture line has reached the middle of the tooth where nerve endings are, resulting in major discomfort.

Sometimes cracks can occur even though there hasn’t been any trauma to the tooth and this could be due to a variety of reasons. A dentist is able to pick these up before they start or cause a problem.


  1. Damaged Fillings

Dental fillings often protect vulnerable parts of the tooth. When this protection is compromised, the sensitive areas of the tooth are exposed to bacteria, food particles, pressure and extreme temperature. This can result in sensitivity and tenderness when chewing.


  1. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding is a very common reason for tooth, jaw, neck and other muscle pain. The biggest problem with teeth grinding is that sufferers often aren’t aware they do it, as it commonly occurs during sleep. Your dentist can determine whether you grind your teeth with an inspection and offer an appropriate treatment (usually a custom mouth guard to be worn during sleep).


  1. Improper Brushing or Flossing

Some people place too much pressure on their teeth and gums while brushing and flossing. This can result in inflamed, irritated and bleeding gums. Using excessive pressure over a long period of time can cause the gums to recede and destabilise teeth, resulting in even greater pain.


  1. Temperature Sensitivity

Experiencing sharp tooth pain during or immediately after eating or drinking something cold or hot could indicate tooth sensitivity. It may mean your tooth enamel has worn down, exposing the layer where nerves lie.


  1. Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth can also be painful when they are coming through, especially impacted wisdom teeth, which have failed to break through the gum line and need to be removed. This causes them to fester below the gum, causing extreme pain.


  1. Dental Abscesses

Abscesses can form around teeth.  Abscesses can form due to gum disease or a dead nerve in the tooth. Abscesses can be chronic and can be around the tooth causing no pain. Sometimes it can flare up causing intense pain and swelling.  Abscesses are an infection and if left untreated can be damaging to the general health and can also be life threatening.


It is important that abscesses are picked up early and treated ASAP.


  1. Sinus Inflammation

When the sinuses are inflamed due to the flu or common cold, teeth pain may occur.

When this occurs, the upper teeth can have symptoms that range from being tender to pressure and vibration, to being in constant pain.

Visit Your Dentist

Maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist on a regular basis to reduce your risk of a toothache and its associated causes.

If you need dental services in Cannon Hill and Morningside, visit My Dentist at Cannon Hill. We offer a calming, family friendly environment with the highest standards of care. Book an appointment online or call us on 07 3902 1023.