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Toothache: Causes and Consequences

Toothache: Causes and Consequences

by | Jul 4, 2017 | Blog

Toothache is defined as pain in the tooth or gum and can manifest as either be a sharp pain or a dull ache. Most people have experienced toothache at some point during their life. It can be uncomfortable, painful and sometimes simply unbearable. A toothache can be caused by numerous dental issues and has some serious consequences if left unattended or ignored. This article will outline common causes of a toothache and the consequences of not resolving the toothache immediately.

Dental Cavity

Cartoon of a sad tooth with a decay hole it in it - Dental

If you have experienced tooth decay, your tooth may now have a cavity left behind after the bacteria ate a hole into your tooth’s enamel. Dental cavities cause toothache and will only worsen in pain and tooth condition if not filled. Sweet food, hot and/or cold food may also give you shooting pain when it encounters the cavity tooth.


Infections, such as tooth abscess are common causes of toothache and should be seen to immediately. Along with being very painful, an abscess can lead to serious complications such as tooth loss and bacterial blood infection! Infections are not to be taken lightly and require immediate dental attention.

cartoon tooth brush and gingivitis


Gingivitis is the initial stage of periodontitis, which is an advanced gum disease with very serious implications. The cause of gingivitis is a build-up of plaque. Plaque builds up if a person doesn’t brush and floss frequently enough or well enough. Catching and treating gingivitis is the last chance before the really serious consequences of periodontitis are dealt with. Gum disease causes gums to shrink and essentially teeth to fall out! One symptom of gingivitis is toothache, which is why we can’t stress to you enough how important it is to get a check-up if you are experiencing any tooth pain. To understand more about gingivitis and why you should look out for it, check out our past article.

Tooth Sensitivity

Some people may be more sensitive than others to say, cold food and drink. There are those who can bite into an ice-cream, then there are those that even thinking about doing such a thing gives them a shiver. This is perfectly normal. However, what isn’t regular and needs checking is sensitivity when eating food in general. Tooth sensitivity is a cause of toothache, but it is also a symptom for many other issues. For instance, it could indicate a cavity, receding gums or thinning tooth enamel. So, tooth sensitivity is worth checking. Call Proactive today on 0754 331 569 to book an appointment.

Cracked Tooth

Cartoon of a dentists inspecting a cracked tooth - Burpengary Proactive Dental

Been eating hard toffee? Crunching on popcorn kernels? Playing contact sport and have taken a tackle, fell or received a bat/ball or stick to the face? Well if you are now experiencing toothache after any of those activities, injuries or accidents, you may have a type of cracked tooth.

There are different types of cracked teeth. The most common is chipped teeth, which are easy to fix and unless the chip exposes the nerve, they aren’t too painful. After a chipped tooth, a fractured cusp and a cracked tooth are the most frequent. Unfortunately, if the crack runs below the gum line the tooth is not salvageable and will need removing. So, if you experience tooth pain after a specific incident, see a dentist as soon as possible.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are a notorious cause of toothache. The toothache cause by wisdom teeth is quite specific. Dull, sometimes throbbing pain in the back of your jaw, top and bottom, is characteristic of wisdom teeth pain. Also, having pain when you eat can also indicate wisdom teeth coming through. If you are experiencing this type of pain and you’ve not had your wisdom teeth removed, nor been told that your wisdom teeth have already come through, then it’s time to see the dentist for some x-rays.

Sinus Infection

A sinus infection is a combination of symptoms that resolves around the inflammation of the nasal cavities. However, whether you have a full-blown sinus infection or just some general sinus inflammation, the result on your teeth can be the same.

Blocked sinus passages can put pressure on the top jaw, causing toothache in the upper teeth. It can also cause pain or discomfort in the upper teeth when running or doing exercise.

The moral of the toothache story is, if you experience tooth pain in any form, you need to make an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. Don’t try to wait until the pain goes away. Don’t try to grin and bear it. Tooth pain is not normal and is always a sign of a problem, whether it be a simple sinus infection, wisdom teeth coming through or something more pressing like a cavity or Gingivitis. If you have a toothache, please contact Proactive Dental today.