Tooth pain is hard to ignore, whether it’s constant and throbbing or sudden and sharp. But what causes toothache, and is it ever a dental emergency? This article explores the causes of toothache to get to the root of the discomfort many people suffer. 

It’s a condition many people dread, but does anyone know what causes tooth pain exactly? No matter how meticulous your oral care and whether you use the most expensive dental products, a toothache can strike when you’re least expecting it, and it isn’t always clear what the underlying cause is. 

Whether you wake up with a dull ache at night or experience sudden severe pain after eating something, having a toothache is a miserable experience. We will look below at four possible causes of tooth pain and how to treat them. 

What causes toothache?

Toothache refers to pain in and around the teeth and jaws that numerous factors may cause. We discuss four of the most common causes of tooth pain and treatment options. So, let’s dive in and get started. 

Untreated tooth cavities

While tooth loss was once the most significant concern in oral health, a study conducted by the Journal of Dental Research shows that between 1990 and 2010, untreated cavities became the most common global oral health concern. While avoiding all cavities is impossible, maintaining an excellent oral health routine is key to preventing tooth decay. The best way to do this is to brush and floss at least twice daily and visit your dentist for regular check-ups. If you’re suffering from a toothache that can’t be eased with over-the-counter painkillers, then it’s best to call an emergency dentist for an appointment on the same day. The most likely treatment will be a dental filling, but if your dentist suspects an abscess, you could be looking at a root canal procedure. 

What causes toothache? It could be an abscess 

If you’ve ever suffered a dental abscess, you probably know it can cause severe pain.

what are the causes of toothache parramattaAn abscess or infection can result from an untreated cavity, dental work, or an injury.

If you have a fever, it may require drainage of the abscess and a course of antibiotics.

Once the infection has cleared, the dentist will likely perform a root canal procedure.


A dental infection can spread to other areas of the body with serious medical consequences, which is why an abscess is considered a dental emergency

Fractured teeth 

A cracked or fractured tooth can occur for various reasons, with some of the most common causes including teeth grinding, general wear and tear, and jaw clenching. The pain associated with a fractured tooth includes constant discomfort around the tooth or pain when chewing. It’s best to visit your dentist as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening. Depending on the extent of the damage, treatment options include a filling, bonding, dental crown, veneer, root canal, and in the worst-case scenario, extraction. If a tooth is completely knocked out due to an accident, trauma to the mouth, or a sports injury, you should visit an emergency dentist with the tooth in a small container of milk to prevent it from drying out. If you can see a dentist within an hour, there is a good chance of saving the tooth.

Recent dental work 

It’s not uncommon for patients to experience temporary tooth pain after recent dental work. Tooth extractions take time to heal; even a dental filling can cause the mouth to feel tender for a few days. Taking pain medication and applying cold compresses to the outside of the cheek on the side of the affected tooth can help ease tooth pain, but if it worsens, contact your dentist. 

What causes toothache? Could it be your sinuses?

It’s also worth considering whether the pain you’re experiencing comes from another source that’s not directly linked to your teeth. If your sinus is infected or you’re very congested, you may feel pain in the teeth or jaw. It’s important to tell your dentist if you were feeling unwell before the pain started, to help them rule out other potential causes. 

You may need to seek urgent medical care for a toothache if you have facial swelling that is making it hard for you to breathe or swallow. Generally, the doctors will only be able to prescribe antibiotics or painkillers rather than treat the source of the tooth pain. Toothache is not generally regarded as a dental emergency unless you are in severe pain or the pain has lasted longer than a few days.  

Do you have a toothache?

If you’re in severe pain, don’t hesitate to call our emergency dentist. At Parramatta Dental Green, we keep hours aside each day for anyone with a dental emergency and are also open 7 days a week, including late opening hours. We provide several treatment options for toothache and will be happy to discuss the best treatment for your needs. Call now or use our online booking service.  



PubMed – Global Burden Of Oral Conditions in 1990-2010: A Systematic Analysis

Medical News Today – Signs And Symptoms Of A Tooth Infection Spreading To The Body