Important Things to Know About Toothaches (Causes)

As the most-used parts of your body, your teeth are also among the most resilient. When strong and healthy, the layers of a tooth protect its nerves and tissues so well that the tooth shouldn’t feel anything outside of the pressures from biting and chewing. Still, poor hygiene, destructive dental habits (like grinding your teeth), and many other factors can lead to weakened or damaged tooth layers, which can cause one or more of your teeth to ache. Usually, the pain is a warning sign, and understanding the cause for your toothache can save you from increasingly worse discomfort, and more.

The Common Causes of Toothaches

  • Tooth decay/cavityThe trouble with a developing cavity (a hole in your tooth caused by tooth decay) is that the aching may not be immediately recognizable at first. As the protective layer of enamel around your teeth is attacked by oral bacteria, which convert sugars into acids that weaken the enamel, your tooth may begin to grow slightly sensitive. As the enamel is compromised and tooth decay develops, the pain will increasingly worse until enough damage is done that the pain is unmistakable.
  • Tooth damageWhen a tooth cracks, fractures, or breaks, the nerves inside of its center chamber (called the pulp) are directly exposed to bacteria and food particles in your mouth. Unlike tooth decay, whose damage to your tooth is gradual, structural damage can cause an immediately severe toothache, as well as an instant risk of internal tooth infection.
  • Dental abscess—An abscess describes a pocket of infection that usually forms on or around a tooth’s root, and can result from extreme tooth decay, damage to your tooth or the surrounding jawbone, an infection in your gum tissues, or many other reasons. The pain from a dental abscess is often severe, and can be accompanied by fever, migraines, dizziness, nausea, and a persistent bad taste and odor in your mouth. If you develop symptoms that may be associated with a dental abscess, then call our office and schedule an examination as soon as possible.


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.