- Pain or discomfort in a tooth
- Not caused by an injury
Causes of a Toothache
- Tooth Decay. If the pain persists more than a day, this is the most common cause. A yellow-brown defect in the enamel may be seen. The most common site is the surface of one of the molars. The pain is dull.
- Dental Abscess. If the pain is severe and throbbing, the decay has become a tooth abscess. That means a pus pocket has formed within the root of the tooth. Tapping on the tooth causes increased pain. If not treated, the abscess will erode through the bone. A "gum boil" or pimple will be seen below the gum line. The patient needs to see a dentist for a root canal.
- Cracked Enamel. Biting on a hard object by mistake can crack a tooth. The tooth becomes sensitive to hot and cold liquids. The tooth may look normal. The fracture line may be below the gum line or just hard to see.
- Gum Disease. Gingivitis is a medical name for irritated gums. They are red and tender. If tooth brushing and flossing are ignored, the gums may even bleed. Can be very painful. Responds to getting the teeth cleaned and daily flossing.
- Stuck Food. Hard food may become wedged between 2 teeth. Proper flossing will remove the food and stop the pain.
Tooth Abscess and Severe Pain
- A tooth abscess can cause severe pain not controlled by normal pain medicines.
- Root canal therapy by an endodontist is needed to cure this problem.
- In the meantime, call your dentist's office. If you can't reach your dentist, call your doctor for advice. They can often bring the pain under control by calling in a prescription. Most often, this is for an antibiotic such as penicillin.