You are at the park with your kids, enjoying the summer weather. In the distance, you hear the sound of an ice cream truck and your kids turn to you with pleading eyes. You start to think that you could really go for an ice cream right now, too. With little ones in tow, you head to the street corner to meet the ice cream truck. You choose to go for an old favorite, one of those red, white, and blue popsicles. You peel back the wrapper and take a bite. Immediately you realize your mistake, as your front teeth begin throbbing with pain. What’s going on? Did you lose your ability to take bites out of ice cream and you are destined to spend the rest of your life simply licking it? Do you need to make an appointment with your dentist? Keep reading, because, in today’s blog, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about toothaches and help you decide when you need to see a dentist about a toothache.

But first, if you’re here because you are actively experiencing a severe toothache, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our dental clinic. We would be happy to see you at any of our three dental locations — our Eatontown dentist office, Seaview Dental; our Jackson dentist office, Century Dental; and our Pine Beach dentist office, Century Dental East.  

Toothache Causes

  • Cold And Heat Sensitivity: We already touched on this one above, and it is one of the most common reasons for temporary toothaches. For most people, the layer of enamel covering our teeth helps protect them from sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks. However, once that enamel wears down — which it does naturally overtime — you might experience pain, aching, or throbbing when drinking hot soup or taking a bite out of ice cream. This is because the tooth nerve, which is responsible for sending pain signals, is closer to the surface or may be exposed entirely. This is especially likely to occur on your front teeth, where the enamel is thinner. We suggest using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If that doesn’t help or the pain gets worse or does not dissipate after a few seconds, either mention it at your next appointment or give us a call and we’d be happy to see you.
  • Tooth Decay or Cavities: For toothaches that are not obviously tied to hot or cold sensitivity, this is the next most likely cause. Tooth decay can occur over a period of weeks, months, and even years without you even realizing it is happening. This is because you typically do not feel pain until the decay reaches the inner area of your tooth. Leading up to this, you may feel dull, aching pain, and then like flipping on a light switch, the pain will suddenly be sharp and extreme. As soon as you start feeling that dull aching pain, get in touch with us. We can do an examination to determine if tooth decay is the cause of the toothache and remove any decay and fill any cavities.
  • Damaged Filling: Say you had a couple of cavities when you were younger and had them filled. Now, you take perfect care of your teeth and your visit to our dentist’s office last week turned up no signs of decay. But suddenly, you are feeling a sharp or aching pain right where your old cavity was. It is possible that you have a damaged or broken filling. A good filling that was expertly placed and is well taken care of can last upwards of 15 years. So, if it has been a while since you had that filling placed, you might need to have it replaced.
  • Abscessed Tooth: An abscessed tooth occurs when a tooth becomes affected and a pocket of pus forms around the root. Abscessed teeth require dental care, and can cause severe toothaches, especially when chewing, as well as jaw pain, fever, and swollen gums.
  • Chipped or Broken Tooth: You would think that toothaches related to a cracked tooth would be an easy cause and effect diagnosis. However, pain caused by broken teeth might not happen immediately, and the crack might be so small that you don’t even realize that something happened. Chipped or broken teeth can cause pain when the fracture goes all the way to the nerve. Whether you very obviously broke your tooth, you experienced a blunt force to the mouth and now have a toothache, or you feel like a soccer ball to the face might have shifted some things around in your mouth, be sure to get in touch with us. Sometimes this type of blunt trauma has no obvious signs, but can slowly kill the tooth.
  • Straightening Teeth: Braces and invisible aligners such as Invisalign can cause teeth pain after an adjustment or after you begin using a new tray. This is normal and is typically not a cause for concern unless the pain feels suspiciously extreme or does not go away after a couple days. If you ever have a concern about tooth pain, you can always give us a call and speak with your dentist or a member of our staff who can let you know if you have anything to be concerned about.

Have A Toothache? Call Us Today

In general, a toothache that occurs after eating or drinking something of extreme temperature or in the days following a new dental alignment adjustment are normal and not something to be concerned about. However, toothaches that painfully persist or those that occur after blunt force to the teeth should always warrant a trip to our office. Get in touch today to schedule an appointment for a toothache, checkup, or any other dental service you may need.