What’s Causing My Tooth Pain?

Potential Causes Of Toothaches Are Not Always A CavityAnybody who has experienced tooth pain knows that the quicker you feel relief, the better. Feeling pain is not normal and can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. If your teeth hurt, it is always a good idea to schedule a dental appointment quickly. By doing a thorough examination, your dentist can answer the frustrating question you may have, “Why do my teeth hurt?”  There are many reasons this could be happening, but here are the most common:

Cavity Causing Tooth Pain

A cavity is simply a hole in your tooth enamel caused by decay.  Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that live in your mouth feeding on plaque that builds up on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky substance that forms on your teeth from leftover food particles and saliva.  The bacteria will eat the plaque and then keep on going right through your enamel. These openings in your enamel can cause sensitivity that results in tooth pain. Cavities are easiest to treat when they are still small. At that point the tooth can still be saved.

Damaged or Lost Filling

Sometimes dental pain can be caused by a filling falling out or being damaged, which can lead to issues with your bite and dental pain. An appointment with your dentist can determine what needs to be done to repair the filling or if it needs to be replaced entirely to eliminate the pain.

Teeth Grinding/Clenching/TMJ

If you bear down on your teeth during the day, or wake up with a sore jaw, which is a good indication you are clenching or grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist can offer treatments to help save your teeth and jaw from excessive wear and tear, as well as painful headaches, toothaches and jaw pain.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscess is an extremely painful tooth infection that forms at the tooth’s roots. Antibiotics must be prescribed to treat the infection but only a dentist can treat the tooth so that the underlying cause is permanently resolved. Failure to treat these infections can lead to life-threatening infections elsewhere..

Wisdom Teeth Coming In

When your wisdom teeth begin to erupt, they may normally cause a good deal of pain, swelling, and jaw stiffness. However, if there isn’t enough room in your smile for them, they may become impacted which can damage existing teeth and make them prone to infection. Your dentist can examine your emerging wisdom teeth to determine if they are coming in properly or if they need to be removed.


Injury caused by such things as contact sports or an accident can cause any number of problems including a “bruised” or deep discoloring of the tooth, a broken tooth, or total loss of one or more teeth.

Temperature Sensitivity

When the underlying layer of tooth enamel, called the dentin, is exposed due to cracks in the enamel or the recession of the gums, your teeth may become sensitive to either hot or cold temperatures, or both.

Orthodontic Treatment

When you have your braces adjusted, it is normal to experience some level of tooth pain. Using an over-the-counter pain medicine, or if the issue is caused by the hardware itself, a little ball of dental wax can resolve this.

Teeth Whitening

Many people feel some discomfort after undergoing a professional teeth-whitening treatment, but the pain should resolve itself within a day. Consult your dentist if it is too painful or problematic.

Relieve Tooth Pain in Truckee, CA

No matter what the reason, we know tooth pain can be miserable, so stop asking, “Why do my teeth hurt?” and schedule an appointment with your dentist today. Most dentists keep emergency appointments built in their schedules for dental emergencies.  If you’re in the Truckee/Lake Tahoe, CA area, Dr. Jason Baldwin is ready to help you with your dental pain. Call our scheduling specialist at (530) 206-0392 or contact us online today.