If you experienced a bad toothache you know how awful it can feel.  Toothaches are typically the most common dental concern that people report.  There are many reasons why we can have tooth pain. Here are our top 5 reasons:

Tooth Decay

When most of us hear toothache, we think of cavities. Tooth decay can definitely cause pain.

The deeper the decay, the more severe the symptoms. If the decay reaches the center of the tooth the pain will likely be quite severe. For most people it will be difficult to carry on with everyday activities.

Tooth Abscess

An abscess is an infection in or around your tooth.  An infected tooth will have a pocket of pus form around its root.  Most of the time, this will result in a more widespread pulsating pain that may make it difficult to pinpoint the exact location the pain is coming from.  Tooth abscess pain often gets worse at night when lying down. This can also be accompanied by some swelling of the gum or a “pimple-like” lesion.  If the abscess is able to drain the level of pain may decrease but you may notice a foul taste in the mouth and sometimes even a bad odor.

Gum Disease

Gum disease often causes red, swollen and bleeding gums. The inflammation can also cause a dull toothache.

Tooth fracture

Teeth that are fractured, chipped, or cracked can also become a source of pain.  Tooth fractures can be caused by an injury such as a hit to the face or by simply biting down on something hard. Teeth that have amalgam (“silver”) restorations are also more likely to develop cracks and fractures.   It is important to see your dentist as soon as you notice even a small fracture as it can worsen quite quickly.

Temperature sensitivity

Temperature sensitivity is quite common.  It typically is a sharp tooth pain when eating or drinking something cold or hot.  Typically this sensation lasts for only a few seconds. Most of the time we experience temperature sensitivity when we have worn enamel or root exposure.

An interesting fact to note is that sometimes a toothache is not caused by a dental problem at all.  These are called referred toothaches.  The most common cause of a referred toothache is Sinusitis (sinus infection).  Because the roots of our upper teeth can be very close to the sinuses, a sinus infection can cause our upper teeth to ache.

Now that we know the 5 top reasons we can be having tooth pain lets talk about how to fix it.


Treatment of a toothache will depend on the cause.  It is important to see your dentist as soon as you can.  Procrastination can result in a much worse condition and a poor prognosis for your tooth.  Your dentist will physically examine your teeth and oral cavity and, if needed, may take an x-ray and provide you with a proper diagnosis. Most of the time a filling can be the answer to our problems, that is if the pain is resulting from tooth decay.  Other treatment options may include:

  • Endodontic Treatment (root canal)
  • Crown
  • Sensitivity reducing agent (such as fluoride treatment or sensitivity reducing toothpaste)
  • Scaling
  • Extraction

When to See a Dentist?

The sooner you can see a dentist the better.  What seems to be a minor discomfort today may quickly become excruciating pain.  Other symptoms to watch out for include swelling, headache, fever or foul taste in the mouth.  Remember that a simple exam can put your mind at ease and provide you not only with the cause of the toothache but also with the solution.

If you are experiencing a toothache or any other symptoms we discussed please do not wait.  Let us help. Contact Dr. Sorin Boeriu, DDS dental office in Kitchener today.


DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation.  Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.