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Tooth Pain | Where Does It Come From?

Top Ten Reasons for Tooth Pain & What You Can Do About It

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Toothaches can run the gambit of the pain spectrum. It might be a nominal pang that comes and goes or it may be a continual, painful throb. Regardless of the level of tooth pain, the cause is very often the same. The heart of a tooth holds the pulp chamber and its nerves. Whether it’s an annoying twinge or an agonizing stab, the tooth is telling you the only way it can that something is amiss.

The Language of Tooth Pain

But how do you know what your sore tooth is trying to tell you? Let’s take a look at the TopTen Reasons for tooth pain.

Top Ten Reasons for Tooth Pain


You aren’t the only one that enjoyed that great meal! Tiny bits of food  that remain in your mouth are a feast for certain oral bacteria. The by-product of this bacterial feeding is acid which, given time, can corrode tooth enamel to the point that a hole is formed and the tender dentin below is exposed. That resulting hole is commonly known as a cavity.

Enamel Erosion.

Digestive conditions like acid reflux or a diet rich in acidics can literally erode tooth enamel away. So rethink all that soda or coffee you’re drinking, and be sure to not skip any of your stomach medicine. Not only will you experience stomach relief, but tooth pain relief too!

Gum Recession.

It’s natural for gums to recede as we age, and this can expose susceptible tooth roots. Give some thought to how you’ve been brushing your teeth. Are you perhaps a bit too vigorous? Do you prefer toothbrushes with stiffer bristles? While tooth brushing is a healthy habit, doing it with a little too much gusto or with a toothbrush that’s too firm can hasten gum recession and create tooth pain.

Recent Dental Work.

When you have work done on your teeth, a certain amount of inflammation of the surrounding  tissue is to be expected,   however  this is only temporary.  If you’re experiencing tooth pain after a dental procedure, it’s more than likely a natural and typical response.

A Loose, Old, or Lost Filling.

Remember the cavities mentioned above?  Filling  a cavity prevents further decay. Sometimes a filling doesn’t fit right or can become dislodged. When that happens, a variety of things can get into the cavity and aggravate nerves. It doesn’t necessarily have to be food particles or bacteria. Sometimes the movement of air across the exposed cavity is enough to “put your teeth on edge.”

Chip, Crack or Fracture.

Teeth are tough, but just like the rest of our bodies, they’re susceptible to pressure and stress. As we age, the cumulative effect of the natural acts of biting and chewing can compromise our teeth. While they may not even be aware of it, many people take their daily stresses out on their teeth. Bruxism (teeth grinding) and jaw clenching is a common cause of chips, cracks and fractures. More often than not, these begin as hairline seams in the enamel that develop into more dramatic breaks later on. We’ll visit bruxism and jaw clenching again later in our Top Ten.

Periodontal Disease.

Tooth pain doesn’t always gets its start right in the tooth. Infections of the soft tissues of the mouth can be a factor. Most commonly, this is due to buildup of plaque on the gum line. Plaque is a bacterial biofilm, and it can cause inflammation. If the inflammation is severe, infection can spread to the tooth root and eventually invade the dental pulp.


An abscess is a reaction by the gum line or teeth to infection. It’s a pus filled sac that forms at a tooth’s base, or in the area between tooth and gum.

Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)/Jaw Clenching.

Whatever the source of the stress that results in teeth grinding or jaw clenching, either behavior exerts tremendous pressure on teeth. The results can be the wearing down of tooth enamel as well as chips, cracks or fractures. Tooth sensitivity and jaw pain are often a result, as well.

Referred Pain.

The teeth and soft tissues of the mouth sometimes act as microphones for a partnering tooth or even for conditions that originate outside of your mouth.. The discomfort may be coming from a neighboring tooth or congestion and infections in the sinuses, and may radiate through the mouth, leaving you with the feeling that the pain is coming from a different tooth altogether.

The warning signs of tooth pain are varied and can be pretty tough to decipher. But understanding the warning signs is a core specialty of every dental professional. You can depend on everyone at Kopp Dental and Associates to get you the tooth pain relief you need, so you can keep on smiling.

Kopp Dental & Asssociates

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