Causes of Tooth Pain and What to Do About It

Causes of Tooth Pain and What to Do About It
Tooth pain, also referred to as a toothache or dental pain, is a pain in your teeth and/or their surrounding structures. This pain can be intense at times, or just a continual dull ache. When you have tooth pain you should make an appointment with your dentist to find out the cause and get it taken care of.

Wisdom teeth

Your wisdom teeth are the large teeth that grow at the back of your mouth when you become an adult. There are four of them. The reason that you may have pain with them is generally caused by their impaction, which means that there is often not enough space for them to completely come through the skin and may either not come through at all or just erupt partially. You may have some pain when they erupt through the skin but the major symptoms and pain occur when there is not sufficient room and they become impacted.


  • Swelling and pain of the gum overlying the impaction
  • Bad breath because of an infection or debris building up in that area.
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Aches when you stretch open your mouth
  • In the swollen gum area there is pus coming out
  • Having difficulty with opening your mouth
  • Tenderness when biting or chewing on the gum area where it is swollen
  • Ulcers/pain on your inner cheek
  • Ear ache as pain can spread outward from your wisdom teeth area

The symptoms can happen for a few days and then go away. They can come back at any time.

Infected teeth

Having infected teeth can also lead to having infections in other parts of your body. Having an infected tooth is basically just a dead tooth. Having an infected tooth can be caused by two major factors, tooth abscess and tooth decay. With a tooth abscess the decay occurs within your tooth and the bone that supports the tooth becomes infected and may or may not cause pain. With tooth decay it is an infection that is caused in the pulp tissue. An infected tooth can also be caused by a fractured tooth or gum diseases.


  • Bad breath or bitter taste in mouth
  • Gums bleeding
  • Excessive salivation
  • Continuous pain
  • Swollen red gums
  • Oral sore filled with pus
  • Severe toothache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain when chewing which can become worse when it is something sweet
  • Swelling in your mouth, cheeks, neck, face, or jaw
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty opening mouth
  • Ear ache

Broken or cracked tooth

A broken or cracked tooth can happen in a variety of ways such as getting hit in the mouth, being in an accident in which you hit your mouth, grinding or clenching your teeth, have undergone root canal treatment,


Having pain when:

  • Your teeth are exposed to cold or hot temperatures
  • When you bite into food, especially hard food
  • Sharp pain when the nerve of a broken or cracked tooth is exposed to saliva, cold/hot food, or air.

The pain will not be constant as with a cavity.

  • If you have had trauma to your face or bitten something hard you may find a piece of the broken tooth in your mouth
  • Irritated nerves
  • Spontaneous shooting pain
  • Irritation to your cheek or tongue caused by a sharp or rough edge to a tooth

Sensitive teeth


The pain that is caused by sensitive teeth is usually because of the sugar in foods or beverages.

  • When eating something hot, cold, sweet, or sour you can feel anything from severe pain to a mild twinge of pain radiating through your mouth
  • At times you could have pain shooting through your tooth when you accidentally bite on something hard.
  • Pain when in inhaling cold air.
  • Sometimes there is pain and irritation when you touch your sensitive tooth with your tongue.
  • Sometimes there is pain when flossing or brushing.


This is an infection of your sinuses, which are the air-filled hollow cavities that are connected to the nasal passage. It can be caused by an abnormal growth that blocks your nasal passage, allergies, infections, or a cold.


  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Headache
  • Tenderness
  • Swollen areas around your eyes
  • Nasal passages that are red
  • Drainage from your nose
  • Pain in your face and teeth


These can be caused by bacteria, eating too much sugars and starches, and not brushing your teeth often enough or at all.


  • There is no pain in the initial stages of the formation of a cavity
  • Toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain while biting
  • Holes or pits that are visible in your teeth
  • Pus around your teeth
  • When eating something cold or hot there could be severe or mild pain
  • Loose fillings
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Tender swollen gums

Home remedies

If you have tooth pain during the night, on the weekend, or cannot get into seeing the dentist until the next day, here are some home remedies that could help with the pain and hopefully give you some relief until the problem can be taken care of. Remember these are home remedies that many times use herbs or things around the house and may or may not work for you. If you prefer not to use these home remedies there is over-the-counter medicine that you can purchase to help with tooth pain.

  • Clove oil—this can be either the liquid form or actual cloves. You can rub the clove or oil into the gum where the pain is or chew the clove over the tooth that is giving you pain
  • Onion slices—if you do not mind the taste of onion you can rub a slice of onion into the area where the pain is. If you chew the onion slice for at least three minutes it will help to kill any of the germs in your mouth.
  • Mix crushed garlic clove with rock salt and apply it the area that is hurt to help ease the pain.
  • Black pepper—mix some black pepper with a little salt in a teaspoon with a little clove oil and take it daily. This home remedy claims that it will help to prevent cavities and alleviate sensitive teeth problems if you take this each day.

If you have severe toothache and home remedies don’t offer any relief you might be experiencing a dental emergency.

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