Toothache or tooth pain is caused when a person has a cavity or tooth decay. Other common causes for developing toothaches are injuries to the mouth & teeth, gum disease, or an abscess of the tooth. Medically speaking, toothache arises when the nerve connected to the tooth is triggered or irritated. When not treated properly, toothaches can be extremely miserable.

Toothache overview
Common causes of toothache


No matter how careful you are with your oral health and hygiene, at some point in your life, you will perhaps experience a toothache. Though a cavity is the main culprit, there are many other reasons causing tooth pain.

Tooth Decay

When the bacteria grow in huge numbers, it causes tooth decay which in turn results in toothache

An abscessed or infected tooth

This condition is described when there is a formation of pus in the tooth, causing severe tooth pain

Sinus infection

Drainage from sinus inflammation causes tooth pain often in the upper teeth that are close to the sinuses.

Food debris in between the teeth

Food particles deposited in your teeth often results in tooth pain.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth often emerge without a warning. When your wisdom tooth breaks through the gums, it causes unbearable pain.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders

Commonly referred to as a pain in your jaw joints, this dental disorder is yet another common reason for a toothache. Grinding: Most people clench or grind their teeth at night while sleeping, which can cause slight pain in their mouth.


  • Extreme pain while chewing the food
  • Sensitivity to cold and hot food or beverages
  • Bleeding from the tooth or gums
  • Swollen gums or swelling of your jaw
  • Unbearable headache or pain in the neck
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Visible holes or pits in your teeth
  • Injury or blow to your face cause toothache
Symptoms or signs of tooth pain
Common treatments for tooth pain


Treatment usually depends on the cause of your tooth pain. For example:

  • If there is a cavity, your dentist may either fill the gap or remove the tooth completely
  • If the cause for your toothache is an infection (pulp formation), dentists often suggest a root canal. In this process, the infected nerve and pulp are drained out and the gap is cleaned and sealed.
  • More often if the toothache is not severe, an antibiotic is prescribed that kills the bacteria causing the pain
  • Cleaning is performed if a toothache is caused by food debris under your gums