What Causes a Toothache?

what causes a toothacheDetermining the cause of your toothache could likely mean the difference between saving your tooth and facing a root canal or tooth extraction. There are many reasons why you may be experiencing a toothache. Sometimes poor hygiene can lead to having sharp pains in your mouth; while other times your habits or genetics could be to blame. No matter the cause, you should always consult with your dentist immediately if you are experiencing severe pain associated with any oral structure.

Tooth Decay

Bacteria found in plaque produce a harmful acid as they break down sugar and carbohydrates that you eat. When this acid is not consistently washed away by brushing your teeth, it can lead to erosion of your tooth enamel, also known as tooth decay. As tooth decay progresses, and reaches deeper into your tooth, you may begin to experience pain and sensitivity while eating or drinking because the nerves of your tooth are no longer adequately protected.


Habitual grinding or clenching of your teeth is known as bruxism, and most commonly occurs at night. Many bruxers will awaken with a sore jaw and strange pain in their teeth. This may be caused by the constant pressure, and side-to-side motion of the mandible during a bruxism episode. Often this type of toothache is described as dull, throbbing, or tingling, and usually dissipates on its own.

Gum Disease

When you first notice a toothache, you should check the surrounding area for redness and swelling of your gums. Often gum disease can cause pain that seems as though it is coming from a tooth; when really there is infection brewing beneath your gum line. You may experience sharp or throbbing pain that may linger then slowly fade.


Dr. Bob Jing has served patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth for many years. Together with his caring, compassionate, and highly-skilled team at 7 Day Dental, Dr. Jing is dedicated to making good dental health available to as many people as possible. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation or appointment, contact our office closest to you at 817-405-2001 on Jacksboro Highway, or at 817-405-0195 on Seminary Drive.