What is the most common cause of tooth pain?

The Best Dental Experience You’ll Ever Have

Our Mission: To Help You Thrive and to be a Champion of Local Wildlife Conservation

Tooth pain happens to most people at some point in their life. Some toothaches can be little more than annoying, and sometimes they are excruciatingly painful. If you have tooth pain, you want to get better fast. The dental professionals at Thrive Dental Studio in Portland, Maine, can help diagnose the underlying issue behind your toothache and treat it for lasting relief.

What is a Toothache?

A toothache is more than just a hurting tooth. It usually hurts because of something going on inside your tooth. If the nerves inside your tooth are inflamed, they probably react to temperature changes and pressure on your tooth. This kind of toothache can usually be treated and healed. However, if the nerves inside your tooth die, you can get an infection that creates pain. This type of toothache may require root canal therapy to save the tooth and stop the infection.

If the underlying cause of the toothache is not treated, you could end up with a major infection that spreads to other parts of your mouth, or you may end up losing teeth.

Different Causes of Toothaches

The painful inflammation of the nerves inside your tooth can be caused by various things, such as:

  • Cavities and tooth decay. A cavity is an infection of your tooth. When the infection reaches the nerve part of your tooth, then it begins to hurt.
  • Gum disease and inflammation. If bacteria build up under your gums, you can get inflammation that causes pain in your teeth.
  • Dental trauma or injury. Trauma or injury to your tooth can lead to a fracture or break that goes through the hard outer parts of your tooth and exposes the sensitive inner nerves. 
  • Grinding or clenching teeth. When you grind your teeth together, you can eventually erode the enamel and cause sensitivity. Clenching your teeth with a lot of pressure can also result in tooth pain.

Symptoms of a Toothache

If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you may have a toothache that should be examined and treated by a dentist:

  • Sharp, dull, or throbbing pain in one or more teeth, which could be constant or sporadic
  • Swelling in the face or gums
  • Redness in the gums
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Foul odor coming from inside your mouth
  • Headaches or migraines

At-Home Remedies for a Toothache

Even if you have an appointment to get your sore tooth examined, you may need some relief at home. The following remedies could help you concentrate on something else besides your sore tooth:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, taken as directed
  • Swish a salt water rinse or hydrogen peroxide rinse throughout your mouth and spit out
  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack for no more than 20 minutes at a time to the area of your mouth that hurts
  • Avoid hot or cold foods and drinks, which could cause further sensitivity in your sore tooth

How Can You Prevent Toothaches?

Naturally, the best way to avoid the pain of a toothache is to prevent it from ever starting. These tips can help you prevent tooth pain in the future:

  • Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing daily, and limiting the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume.
  • Go to the dentist for regular cleanings and exams at least twice a year.
  • Wear a mouthguard during sports to prevent injury to your teeth.
  • Wear a night guard while sleeping if you are prone to teeth grinding.

What Services are Available at Thrive Dental Studio?

Our comprehensive dental services include everything you need for a healthy, attractive smile.

  • General dentistry – From dental exams and cleanings to tooth extractions to dental sealants, our general dentistry services prevent problems and care for common issues.
  • Restorative dentistryWe will fill your cavities and restore damaged teeth with effective restorations, including dental crowns and implants.
  • Cosmetic dentistry Get the smile of your dreams with cosmetic services, including teeth whitening trays, Invisalign trays, dental bonding, veneers, and more.
  • Emergency dentistry Call us to schedule an emergency appointment for immediate care.

Do You Have Tooth Pain?

Get the professional treatment you need to relieve your tooth pain. Schedule an appointment at Thrive Dental Studio in Portland, Maine, and Dr. Figueiredo and his experienced team will find out what is wrong with your tooth and provide you with a personalized treatment plan.

Dan Figueiredo, DMD

Dan Figueiredo, DMD

Dr. Dan Figueiredo, a graduate of Tufts University School of Dentistry, blends his artistic talent and scientific acumen to provide high-quality, patient-centric dental care in Maine. Recognized for his transparent communication and his commitment to continuous learning, he stays abreast of the latest dental advancements through regular attendance at esteemed dental institutes and continuous education courses. Beyond his practice, he passionately embraces Maine’s outdoor heritage, participating in competitive trap and sporting clays shooting, engaging in seasonal outdoor activities, and eagerly anticipating his next international travel adventure.