Toothache is a common dental problem that affects people of all ages. It can be caused by various reasons including tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even medical conditions. Toothache can be sharp, throbbing, or have mild discomfort, and it may even result in jaw pain. Understanding the possible causes of toothache to get timely treatment and avoid any further complications is essential. This blog post will discuss the most common and less common causes of toothache. 


Common Causes of Toothaches



Dental Cavities

Tooth decay, also known as dental cavities, is one of the most common causes of toothaches. When bacteria produce acids that erode the outer layer of the tooth, it can cause cavities that can lead to sensitivity and pain. Fluoride toothpaste can help prevent tooth decay, and regular dental checkups can detect cavities early and prevent complications such as an abscessed tooth. If you have a mild toothache, you can alleviate the pain with over-the-counter pain relief medication and rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. 


Gum Disease

Gum disease is another common cause of toothaches. Plaque buildup on your teeth and gums can cause bacterial infections that can lead to bleeding gums, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity. If left untreated, gum disease can progress to periodontal disease, which can cause tooth loss and other dental problems. To prevent gum disease, brush and floss your teeth daily, see a dentist regularly, and avoid tobacco products. 


Tooth Abscesses

An abscessed tooth is a bacterial infection that can cause sharp and throbbing pain in the affected tooth. It can occur from untreated tooth decay or gum disease. An abscessed tooth can be treated with dental procedures such as a root canal or tooth extraction. If you have an abscessed tooth, you should see a dentist immediately. 


Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause tooth pain, jaw pain, and headaches. It can occur because of stress, anxiety, or misaligned teeth. Stress reduction techniques, wearing a mouthguard, and dental treatment to realign teeth can help alleviate teeth grinding and relieve tooth pain. 


Cracked Teeth

A cracked tooth can cause sharp pain while biting or chewing. It can occur from biting on hard objects, injuries, or natural wear and tear. A cracked tooth can be treated with a dental crown, filling, or root canal. If you have a cracked tooth, you should see a dentist immediately before it leads to more severe dental problems. 


Sinus Infections

Sinus infections can cause referred pain to the upper teeth that can mimic toothache pain. They can occur from allergies, colds, or sinusitis. Decongestants, antibiotics, and other medical treatments can help alleviate sinus infections and reduce referred toothache pain. 


Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth can cause tooth pain and dental problems due to overcrowding and impaction. Regular dental checkups and X-rays can detect wisdom teeth early and prevent complications such as infections, abscesses, and tooth extractions. 


Less Common Causes of Toothaches


Go to Joint Disorder (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects your jawbone to your skull, enabling you to open and close your mouth. If you suffer from TMJ disorder, it can lead to jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds when chewing, or pain when opening and closing your mouth.

When this joint becomes inflamed, it can also result in referred pain that feels like a toothache or tooth pain. If you experience these symptoms, see a dentist or an oral surgeon for an evaluation to rule out any dental problems. 


Ear Infections

Ear infections can cause sharp pain in the ear, but they can also cause tooth pain. The trigeminal nerve, which supplies sensation to the teeth, tongue, and face, extends to the ear. An infection in the ear can sometimes lead to referred pain in the teeth, which can result in a mild toothache. If you have other symptoms of an ear infection, such as ear swelling, discharge, or fever, you should immediately see a doctor. 


Preventing Toothaches 


Regular Dental Checkups

Regular dental checkups are essential for preventing toothaches and other dental problems. During a dental checkup, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums, look for signs of decay or infection, and identify any potential issues before they become serious. You should schedule a dental checkup at least once a year, but your dentist may recommend more frequent visits based on your individual needs. 


Proper Oral Hygiene Habits

Practising proper oral hygiene habits is essential for preventing toothaches. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once daily, and using fluoride toothpaste can help remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums. If you experience bleeding gums or tooth pain, it may be a sign of more severe dental problems, and you should see a dentist immediately. 


Healthy Eating Habits

Eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding sugary and acidic foods can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, leading causes of toothaches. Foods high in calcium, such as dairy products, can also help strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities. 


Wearing A Mouthguard During Sports Or At Night

Wearing a mouthguard can help prevent toothaches and other dental problems if you play sports or grind your teeth at night. A mouthguard can protect your teeth and gums from injury and prevent teeth grinding, which can cause tooth pain, jaw pain, and headaches. 


Avoiding Tobacco And Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing gum disease and other dental problems, which can cause toothaches. If you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting can improve your oral health and reduce your risk of dental pain and other health problems. 


When to Seek Professional Help Signs That Indicate the Need for Professional Dental Care

Tooth decay is a common cause of toothache pain. Left untreated, cavities can develop into an infected or abscessed tooth, leading to severe pain. Broken or cracked teeth can also lead to sharp pain, especially in the upper or wisdom teeth.

Go to toothpaste can help prevent tooth decay but not cure it. If you experience mild toothache relief with over-the-counter painkillers or home remedies such as clove oil massages, it is best to see a dentist to diagnose and treat the root cause of the pain.

Gum disease is another cause of dental pain and bleeding gums. It is a bacterial infection that targets the gums and bones around the teeth, leading to loosening teeth and tooth loss. The pain from gum disease can be mild or severe, but it should not be ignored. 

Teeth grinding can also lead to tooth damage and jaw pain. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is crucial to consult with a dental professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate dental treatment. 


The Importance of Seeking Prompt Dental Treatment

If left untreated, dental problems can lead to more severe pain that interferes with daily life. Toothache pain can spread to the head, neck, and ears, causing throbbing pain and referred pain. An abscessed tooth, for example, can cause swelling, fever, and a foul taste in your mouth. These are signs of a dental emergency; immediate medical treatment is necessary to avoid severe complications. Delaying dental treatment can also lead to more expensive, complex dental procedures such as tooth extraction or root canal treatment. 



Toothache pain can range from mild discomfort to severe throbbing pain, and underlying dental problems can cause it. If you experience toothache pain, seeing a dentist as soon as possible is important to determine the underlying cause and seek treatment if necessary. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, using fluoride toothpaste, and seeking prompt dental treatment can prevent toothache pain from developing or worsening. You can relieve toothache pain and maintain good oral health for years with the right treatment.

At Hammondville Dental, we offer various services to help you keep healthy teeth and gums. Our experienced team can perform thorough examinations and identify any underlying dental problems that may be causing your toothache pain. We use the latest technology and techniques to provide effective treatment options, including fillings, root canal therapy, and extractions. With our compassionate care and personalised treatment plans, you can feel confident in achieving optimal oral health. Don’t let toothache pain keep you from smiling — contact us at (02) 9000 1237 today to schedule your first appointment! 




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