Got a Toothache? Here are 8 Probable Causes

A toothache can be crippling. You may feel the pain in your tooth or its surrounding area. Either way, this isn’t normal. You need to determine what’s causing the toothache to address it properly.

See your dentist if the pain persists longer than a day, is severe, or is affecting other parts of your body like your ears. Here are some of the common causes of a toothache:

  1. Tooth Decay. This affects the inner part of the tooth called the dentin. This could cause pain and sensitivity. It’s important to get into the dental office as soon as possible to prevent the issue from worsening.
  2. Tooth Abscess. An abscess can be caused by tooth decay, gum disease, or a cracked tooth. This can lead to infection and form a pocket of pus around the tooth. This will not heal on its own and requires treatment from your dentist to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of your body.
  3. Cracked Tooth. Another potential cause of a toothache is a fracture. If your tooth got cracked or chipped, it may start to feel sore. This can be a sign that the nerve endings of the tooth have been affected. Your tooth might not start to ache right after the incident, but it’s best to have a dental professional assess it. Otherwise, the damage can lead to other dental problems.
  4. Gum Disease. Periodontal (or gum) disease can also trigger toothaches. You may notice that the pain is accompanied by bleeding gums. Severe cases can lead to tissue damage around your teeth and may require surgery if left untreated.
  5. Damaged Fillings. Dental fillings are used to fill the tooth where decay was removed. The fillings protect the tooth, covering its grooves or holes. Once this layer of protection is worn or damaged, your tooth becomes exposed to food debris, bacteria, and extreme temperatures. This causes painful toothaches. Contact your dentist to get your fillings fixed.
  6. Tooth Sensitivity. If you’re sensitive to hot and cold food and beverages, then you most likely have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can also cause toothaches. Your teeth can become sensitive once the dentin and roots become exposed. Don’t let tooth sensitivity keep you from enjoying what you like to eat and drink. Visit your dentist for a checkup.
  7. Impacted Wisdom Teeth. If there’s not enough room in your mouth to accommodate your wisdom teeth, they may be impacted. This means they can’t fully erupt and get trapped within the jawbone. Wisdom teeth that only partially erupt are tougher to clean and vulnerable to tooth decay. And wisdom teeth that grow in sideways and push on back molars will also cause toothaches.
  8. Orthodontic Alignments. Adjusting orthodontic appliances, such as braces and retainers, can cause discomfort. Adjustments are performed to move or tighten teeth. It’s common to feel pain or discomfort but it should resolve on its own after a few days. If it persists, contact your orthodontist.

To address a toothache, its specific cause should first be identified. More often than not, the causes can be prevented with good oral health habits.

If you’re experiencing a severe toothache, contact us at (403) 266‑3100. We may be able to get you in on the same day.


Good dentistry doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of consultation, planning, and attention to detail. We offer a wide range of procedures to help you get the dental care tailored to your needs. Whether it’s Teeth Whitening, Implants, Dentures, or Orthodontics, we can help you get that smile that is just right for you!


465 Aviation Rd NE Unit 113,
Calgary, AB T2E 5T5, Canada

(403) 266‑3100

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