Why Do I Have A Toothache?


Throughout your life, you have probably had a toothache. Whether it was a dull ache or throbbing pain, toothaches are pretty common. In fact, toothaches are the second most common issue faced by people in American. Tooth pain can be throbbing, dull, sharp, constant, or intermittent. You may only have a problem when you chew or maybe the pain makes it so you can’t focus on anything else. Trying to figure out what could be causing your toothache could be worrisome and frustrating since a toothache might be an indication of something little, such as a cavity, or something larger, like an abscess. If your toothache persists for over two days or you are in pain, DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads strongly recommends scheduling a dental exam as quickly as possible, so our skilled team of professionals in Cary, NC can diagnosis the cause and create a treatment plan. Here’s some of the most common underlying causes of a toothache, additional signs to watch for, and tips for preventing toothaches in the future.

Although a cavity is the top cause of a toothache, there are quite a few other possible conditions ranging from tooth sensitivity to an abscessed or cracked tooth. Learning a bit about common oral health conditions can better help you understand the cause of your pain:

    In some cases, a toothache isn’t a cause for immediate concern. For instance, perfectly healthy teeth can become uncomfortable, sensitive, and achy for a short period of time following a home or professional whitening treatment. This particular sensitivity is caused by the irritation of your dental nerves by the whitening agent. However, if the sensitivity causes intense pain or doesn’t go away after five days, you should contact your dentist.
    One cause of a severe toothache is a cracked tooth. This can be caused from an injury or something more straightforward like eating a hard candy or ice. If this happens, emergency dental care is often essential to reduce your pain and repair the tooth.
    A less known reason for a toothache is a sinus infection. Your top molars sit close to your sinus cavities, so pressure in your nose can spread to your teeth. If sinus pressure and a runny nose occur at the same time as your toothache, you may need to see a general practitioner for sinusitis.
    An abscessed tooth, generally caused by an untreated cavity, can result in a severe toothache. Your dentist may need to perform an extraction or a root canal to take care of the problem.

A mild toothache by itself is an issue that doesn’t necessarily need immediate care. If a toothache and facial swelling are present following a dental procedure, they are likely the result of the procedure and should fade in the next few days. However, if you have a toothache as well as other symptoms, you may have a critical problem. You should contact your dentist for an emergency appointment if your pain is severe, not improved with home treatment, or is accompanied by a fever. These are signs that an infection is present, which needs to be treated before it spreads. Trouble eating, speaking, and opening your mouth are also signs of a serious condition that should be reported to your dentist right away. Lastly, a toothache along with a facial rash could be a sign of sepsis, which requires immediate medical attention.

To treat mild toothaches, several home remedies might help alleviate the pain while you wait to see your dentist in Cary, NC. A simple saltwater rinse, over the counter pain relievers (acetaminophen), along with a cold compress can help significantly reduce your pain. Hydrogen peroxide diluted with water can also be used to remove bacteria, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation.
Most toothaches will require treatment by your dentist. While your toothache may not always require emergency treatment, it is far better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your oral health. Treatments could include a filling, root canal therapy, or extracting a tooth depending on your condition. If the infection presents along with a fever, chills, or jaw swelling, then you could be prescribed antibiotics together with your dental treatment.


    Eating a healthy diet can also help prevent toothaches. Foods that are with high amounts of calcium keep your tooth enamel strong, making it more difficult for bacteria to penetrate it. Apples and carrots, which are full of fiber, are also good for the teeth. These foods stimulate the creation of saliva, which helps to rinse away debris and germs. A stick of celery is an excellent natural toothbrush, polishing away debris and bacteria with each bite (though we recommend cleaning your teeth at least twice a day with a normal toothbrush).
    Most importantly, everybody in Cary, NC should get annual oral health examinations plus bi-annual cleanings. Regular visits to your dentist’s office can help make sure enamel buildup and developing problems are addressed before they have the chance to damage the enamel and lead to tooth pain. Your dentist can also recognize weak areas before they turn into a toothache and suggest proactive treatments.
    Your best defense against a toothache is good oral hygiene. Tooth decay can be prevented with a great home care routine that includes daily brushing and flossing, as well as mouthwash. If you regularly experience excessive tartar buildup or tooth decay, talk to your dental professional about dental sealants. This proactive dental treatment may help protect your teeth from tartar and plaque buildup.

Whenever you have a toothache, get in touch with your dentist to determine if you need urgent care. When you take care of a toothache at the first signs, you can avoid more pain and longer, invasive dental procedures. If you’re not getting help for a toothache because of fear or anxiety about going to the dentist, DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads offers sedation techniques to keep you comfortable throughout routine examinations and longer treatments.