Common Causes and Symptoms of a Toothache

While you probably do everything you can to prevent dental problems, there still may be a chance that you experience a toothache at some point. In many cases, tooth pain resolves on its own in a fairly quick manner; but sometimes the discomfort can be severe, resulting in an emergency office visit to determine the best course of action. Preventive care is vital in avoiding dental pain, and knowing when to see your dentist or treat the pain at home can save you time and unnecessary discomfort.

Causes of Toothaches

The most common reason that people experience tooth pain is the formation of a cavity, or tooth decay. Cavities form when bacteria in your mouth devour sugar and starches, and then excrete a harmful acid onto your tooth surfaces. As the acid sits on your teeth, it begins to slowly eat away at your enamel, creating tiny pits. In the beginning stages you may not notice any pain, but if allowed to worsen, cavities can become extremely painful as they plunge deep into your tooth.

Other common culprits of tooth pain are damaged teeth and abscesses. An injury or late stage tooth decay can cause cracks in your tooth that can be excruciating. Cracks allow bacteria to enter the inner workings of your tooth, possibly causing a major infection, also known as an abscess. Once an abscess forms, usually the best treatment is a root canal to remove all of the harmful bacteria.


Toothaches can rear their ugly heads in many fashions. Often it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the pain is coming from because it may appear to radiate throughout an area spanning several teeth. You may experience sensitivity to temperature changes or pressure; or you may notice your tooth seems to throb constantly. Sharp, sudden, pain that does not go away quickly can be a serious indication that a dental visit is necessary.


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.