The Usual Causes of Tooth Pain

The Usual Causes of Tooth Pain
Follow along with this guide to the most common causes of tooth pain so you’ll know how to treat it.

Tooth pain can arrive from seemingly out of nowhere, and never as an especially welcome visitor. Being able to do some preliminary amateur analysis as to “What’s going on in there!?” is a highly useful skill, though. That invisible red-hot needle mercilessly jabbing your gums likely indicates a different type of issue than, say, that dull persistent molar ache—or the dreaded sudden onset of extreme sensitivity to temperatures!
Many dental conditions can be indicative of more complex overarching health problems—ones that aren’t by any means confined to your mouth. Follow along with this guide to the most common causes of tooth pain so that, when next you awake in the throbbing throes of tooth trouble, you may actually be able to answer that silently-screamed why!?, and take appropriate ameliorative action all the faster.


Some people manage to go through life without ever developing a cavity; most aren’t nearly so lucky. Cavities gradually form as tooth enamel decays, usually owing to improper oral hygiene, genetic predisposition, or both. The pulsing pain usually kicks in once deterioration has advanced to expose the highly sensitive tooth interior, resulting in inflammation upon contact with just about anything.

In most cases, your dentist will be able to quickly cut away and refill the hole. If the cavity has gone untreated for too long, the rot can deepen and cause severe swelling with alarming discoloration of the surrounding tissue. Such cases usually require a root canal to fix.


If you just couldn’t resist chomping down on that jawbreaker and immediately felt a tooth chip or pop off outright, the pain is likely intense… but not particularly mysterious. This is nonetheless a bona fide dental emergency: your best chance of having that tooth successfully reattached is to bring it along to your dental appointment—within 30 minutes. To wit: don’t hesitate! A chipped tooth may be repairable for some time after the trauma, but within a very short timeframe, a lost one will need to capped following a root canal. 

Periodontal Disease

This sneakily insidious condition causes the gums to recess and erode. Any teeth in affected regions can begin shifting, and since this isn’t something they’re remotely meant to do, it sure smarts. Watch for significant swelling, heightened sensitivity, and difficulty eating or talking. Without dental care, periodontitis often leads to bone loss, which makes resolution (e.g., implants, bridgework) much tougher—and considerably ouchier.


If a tooth doesn’t properly descend, it can get stuck in the flesh beneath your other pearly whites and wreak havoc. This is impaction, and more often than not our vestigial wisdom teeth are the culprit in this situation. The pain starts as a dull ache, but can progress to a deeper throb if the errant tooth bullies its well-behaved brethren into realignment—and especially if it should breach the gum surface. Depending on the case, antibiotics and pain relievers might be all that’s needed; alternately, the offending tooth might need to be surgically removed.

Catonsville Dental Care is The Best Choice for Your Dental Health

Catonsville Dental Care offers a wide variety of services when it comes to oral health. We have the experience and understanding to diagnose and treat any problem you have as quickly and painlessly as possible. With four dentists available at our office and a commitment to comfort, safety, and relaxation, you can’t find a better provider for your health. We look forward to helping you keep your smile perfect all year long and talking with you about your needs. To schedule an appointment or consultation, visit us online or give us a call at 410-747-1115. For more tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook, FlickrTwitter, and YouTube.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 23rd, 2022 at 2:16 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.