Toothache – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Toothache is the condition of having pain in and around your tooth. It is caused by many reasons like tooth decay, tooth fracture, cavities, infected gums and a damaged filling.

Toothache Symptoms

The intensity of pain may range from mild to severe. Toothache will cause swelling or inflammation of the tooth, sharp pain on the affected tooth. For some pain may increase while drinking anything cold and for some people the pain will be constant.

It can also cause mild fever, headache in some individuals. In addition to the throbbing pain there can be foul smelling drainage from the tooth that has been infected.

The pain would start suddenly and get worse during night time. The area of the oral cavity that is close to the infected tooth may also become swollen and become tender to touch. For some people toothache is constant problem and for some others it will come and go.

Toothache Causes

  • Several reasons affect tooth causing infection and tooth decay.
  • Wrong brushing techniques and not taking care of dental hygiene is the primary cause of toothache.
  • Whenever your tooth gets infected the innermost layer of the teeth known as dental pulp gets swollen.
  • Dental pulp contains blood vessels and sensitive nerves and hence toothache is felt when the nerves get damaged.
  • Toothache can be caused by cavities (holes) in your tooth.
  • Sometimes cracks are formed on the tooth causing pain. Broken filings can cause toothache.
  • If the gums shrink down (receding) it exposes the inner soft part of the tooth which becomes sensitive when you drink something hot or cold.
  • Abscess formed on the tooth can cause bacterial infection forming pus inside the tooth leading to pain.
  • Swollen gums, ulcerous growth on your gums, sinusitis problem and any accidental injury to the jaw can also cause toothache.


Your dentist will examine your oral cavity and he will collect information about the symptoms. He will physically examine the gums, affected tooth and throat for ascertaining the reason. In case of dental fracture he may ask for dental X-rays for detecting the extent of damage.

Toothache Treatment

Your dentist will give treatment after verifying the actual cause for toothache. The nature of treatment varies with the causative factors for toothache. If he finds any decay of tooth, he will remove the decayed portion and fill the hole (cavity) with special paste. For some people filings will get loose or broken. In that case the entire filling is removed and fresh fillings are replaced in that area.

Root canal treatment is another option for toothache if the pulp is severely infected. It is lengthy procedure and expensive also. You will have to visit the dentist several times wherein he would remove the infected pulp and fill the cavity with special paste. He would then put a crown on top of it to prevent any infection. Very often the infected tooth will be protected by different options of treatment. In case if the impact on the tooth is high he will remove the infected tooth.


You can prevent toothache by keeping your gums healthy. You should use proper brushing methods to brush your teeth twice a day. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride and do not exert harsh movements on your teeth. Instead gently brush the gums and teeth regularly. Flossing should be done at least thrice a week. Use mouthwash for preventing any bacterial infection.

Restrict taking sweetened items and cold drinks. In case you want to enjoy sweets consume it with your meal and not in between meals. Avoid taking snacks in-between meals. Visit your dentist regularly for cleaning your tooth using professional approach. Quit smoking since it can make your dental problems worse.

Home Remedies

In case of toothache (for mild to moderate pain) you can take painkillers like Ibuprofen to get some relief from discomfort. Avoid drinking cold/hot drinks which will increase the pain. Soak a piece of cotton wool in clove oil and keep it on the infected tooth for few minutes. It is not advised to give aspirin to children.

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