Toothache

Also known as: pulpitis.

What is toothache?

The term toothache refers to pain that comes from an inflammation of the pulp (pulpitis) inside a tooth (this contains the nerves which cause the pain).

What causes toothache? 

The most common causes of toothache are tooth decay/cavities, a tooth abscess, a crack in the enamel covering of a tooth, gum infection (gingivitis), or pain from food being stuck between teeth causing pressure on a tooth.

What are the symptoms of toothache?

The most common symptom is a constant throbbing pain in or around a tooth, which worsens when the tooth is exposed to hot or cold temperatures.

What are toothache care options? 

Toothaches can often be prevented with good dental hygiene, including regular brushing/flossing. Most toothaches will need to be treated by a dentist which may involve decay/cavity cleaning/filling, tooth extraction, draining of an abscess or removing the nerve in the tooth by a “root canal” treatment. Over-the-counter pain relievers will help with the pain and antibiotics may be indicated.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 4/4/2018 2:29:59 PM

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