Toothache Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

What are the Symptoms of a Toothache? 

Toothache symptoms can be barely noticeable or so severe you can’t sleep at night.

You may start the day noticing that a tooth is sensitive to cold. Or maybe you woke up at night with a swollen jaw and a throbbing headache caused by an infected tooth. Something as simple as a piece of popcorn stuck between your teeth can cause a throbbing toothache and swollen gum.

Removing a popcorn husk gets rid of the pain and swelling, but an infected nerve inside a tooth causes the same symptoms.And this can lead to a more complex treatment like a root canal.

Toothaches have many symptoms, causes, and treatments. It is to your advantage to visit Lasry Dental Clinic in LA to get as much information as possible.


What are the Symptoms of a Toothache? 

Toothache Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Toothaches range from mild sensitivity to severe pain that can result in a dental emergency.

Below is a list of the several types of toothache pain you can experience:

  • Hot and cold sensitivity. You may notice a single tooth or several teeth are sensitive when you eat hot or cold foods. When you tell your dentist that you have hot and cold sensitivity, your dentist will ask you these questions:
  1. Does the pain linger, or does it go away quickly?
  2. Does it feel like one tooth hurts or several teeth?
  3. Do you notice the pain more with hot or cold?

The answers to these questions are important and help your dentist figure out your toothache’s cause and treatment. A mild sensitivity that goes away quickly may be nothing serious. However, foods and drinks causing toothache pain for more than 30 seconds is a sign that you need to see your dentist as soon as possible for treatment.

  • Pain when biting down on food. You should avoid chewing on a tooth that hurts when you bite on it until you can see your dentist for an evaluation.
  • Constant pain that starts randomly through the day or wakes you up at night. You should call your dentist and have this checked as soon as possible.
  • Toothache headaches. This can feel like a dull ache or a sharp pain. Grinding your teeth damages them and can cause headaches. A tooth with a severely inflamed nerve can also cause a headache or even an earache. A sinus infection can cause pain that seems like it is coming from a tooth, but sinus inflammation is usually the cause. However, a sinus condition can cause both a toothache and a headache.


An infected tooth can cause any number of these symptoms:

  • Severe tooth pain
  • Pain when biting on food.
  • Swelling in gum, face, cheek, or neck
  • Fever
  • Tender lymph nodes
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty breathing

Toothache Causes


Some toothaches begin with bad dental hygiene. But you can still experience a toothache if you are brushing every day and seeing your dentist every six months.

Below is a list of the causes of toothache causes:

  • Tooth decay
  • A cracked or loose dental filling
  • Fractured tooth
  • Braces
  • Recent dental treatment such as a filling
  • Abscessed tooth
  • Gum inflammation or infection
  • Sinus infection
  • An exposed root from gum recession
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Impacted wisdom tooth
  • Food such as a popcorn husk stuck in your gums
  • Past trauma such as sports injuries
  • Cysts or tumors in the jaw
  • TMJ disorder (pain in the joint in front of the ear)


Toothache Treatment


You should call Lasry Dental Clinic at once if you have swelling in your jaw, face, cheek, or neck area. This is a dental emergency requiring treatment as soon as possible.

You can treat some mild toothache symptoms at home, but it is advisable to call your dentist and let them know exactly what you are experiencing. People with a medical history of heart disease must be aware of the seriousness of jaw pain occurring with any chest pain, sweating, or shortness of breath.

Treating a toothache can include one or more of the following:

  • Pain killers. Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen usually eliminate mild or moderate toothache pain. Severe toothaches not relieved by over-the-counter medications may require narcotic analgesics prescribed by your dentist.
  • Change in diet. It may be necessary to avoid chewing hard foods that cause your tooth to hurt. You also might need to avoid hot and cold foods until your dentist treats your tooth.
  • Oral hygiene. Some toothaches are relieved with regular brushing and flossing. Removing accumulated plaque might get rid of some hot and cold sensitivity. And flossing could remove a piece of food trapped in the gum that is causing the pain.
  • Dental filling. Your dentist will place a dental filling in your tooth when a cavity or broken filling causes the pain.
  • Tooth extraction.  Some badly decayed teeth require removal to get rid of the toothache. Fractured teeth and advanced gum disease also might result in extraction.
  • Root canal treatment. If the tooth’s nerve is severely inflamed or infected your dentist might recommend a root canal to save the tooth.

When to see your dentist

See your dentist as soon as you can if:

  • Your tooth hurts for more than a day or two.
  • Your pain is severe, and especially if it keeps you awake at night.
  • You have a fever with your toothache.
  • It hurts to open your mouth wide.
  • You have swelling in your gums, cheek, jaw, or neck.
  • Over-the-counter pain medication doesn’t get rid of your pain.
  • Your pain prevents you from eating.



FAQ’S About Toothache Symptoms

Can a toothache go away on its own?

Mild pain or sensitivity caused by plaque on a tooth or irritated gums can go away with brushing and flossing. But when an inflamed or infected nerve inside the tooth causes the pain, it will not go away on its own. At this point, you’ll need an evaluation by a dentist.

What is the fastest way to stop a toothache at home?

  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen to alleviate mild toothache symptoms. If there is a medical condition such as drug allergy to these medications, take acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Rinse with warm salt water several times during the day. Mix a glass of warm water and one-half teaspoon of salt and rinse thoroughly.
  • Maintain regular oral hygiene with brushing and flossing.

How can you stop a toothache fast?

The fastest way to get rid of your toothache and to make sure you don’t have a severe problem is to see your dentist as soon as possible. Many recommended home remedies only delay treatment, and some can make the problem worse.

Do you have an on-going toothache? Book your appointment with Dr. Lasry today or give us a call at 310-734-7705.

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