It’s an all too familiar feeling for many – the sudden, intense pain interrupting your daily life to let you know that something is wrong in one of your teeth. But what is it that actually causes tooth pain? The best answer is always to consult your dentist to diagnose and treat tooth pain, but here are a few common causes:

  1. Tooth Decay: The most common cause, tooth decay is damage that occurs when the bacteria in your mouth produce acids that can eat away at your teeth. This leads to the familiar dental problem of cavities.
  2. Infection: If your cavity makes its way into the center of the tooth (the nerves and blood vessels collectively known as the “pulp”), you may find yourself with a tooth infection. This is a precursor to an abscess, and won’t go away without the help of a dentist.
  3. Bruxism: Better known as a grinding of the teeth, in its mild form this condition may not require treatment. But for some, bruxism can be severe enough to cause headaches, jaw problems, and yes – toothaches.
  4. Traumatic Injury: These types of injuries occur in accidents or often accompany sports related activities. Teeth may be chipped, dislodged or knocked out of the mouth all together as the result of a blunt force injury to the mouth. All of these cases may lead to pain in the tooth.
  5. Abnormal Bite: Known to professionals as malocclusion, this condition is a problem with the way the upper and lower teeth fit together or align. If you suffer from this condition, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist who can help to fix the problem.

The important thing to remember is that most toothaches may be prevented with regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups.


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