Oral Health Issues That Can Cause A Toothache

An achy tooth can be one of the most severe types of pain. Many people are unable to eat or sleep with a serious toothache. Still, the pain of a toothache is often symptomatic of a significant underlying dental condition.

Here are a few oral health issues that can cause a toothache.

Dental Infections

When bacteria invade a tooth through a crack, chip, or cavity, they can cause an infection in the pulp, which is the tooth's central layer. Once the infection occurs, it inflames the soft tissue of the pulp and the blood vessels and dental nerves that it contains. 

The inflammation is particularly problematic for the dental nerves, often leaving them irreparably damaged. The damaged nerves can cause the persistent pain of a toothache. 

The pain can be remedied by a dental extraction or a root canal procedure. However, since many people want to preserve their natural tooth, a root canal procedure may be preferred.


When a cavity develops, the tooth may remain painful until it is properly treated. Cavities form when the enamel of a tooth is dissolved by the acids in the mouth.

Acids accumulate in the oral cavity as they are released by microbes. Oral bacteria metabolize simple sugars in the mouth and produce acid as a waste product of their digestion.The acid dissolves the minerals that make up the tooth material, causing holes to develop. 

The outermost layer of the tooth is the tooth enamel. Once this protective layer is breached, the underlying dentin is exposed. The dentin layer contains tubules, which resemble tiny tunnels. The dental nerves extend into the tubules, making a tooth with a cavity more susceptible to pain. 

To treat a cavity, a dentist removes the portions of the tooth that are decayed and fills the tooth. If the cavity is exceptionally large, the dentist may also cover the filled tooth with a dental crown.

Sensitivity from Overuse of Tooth Whiteners

Dental sensitivity can be a painful condition. When changes in temperature or pressure occur near a sensitive tooth, the mouth may be flooded with pain.

Dental sensitivity can be caused by various factors, including the overuse of tooth-whitening products. Over-the-counter whitening kits can produce a brighter smile. However, if abused, they can damage the dental nerves. Thus, it is best to only use whitening products as prescribed.

Once chronic dental sensitivity develops, a root canal procedure may be necessary to alleviate the tooth's discomfort.

If you are suffering from toothaches, contact the office of a local dentist to schedule a consultation.