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: 10/10/2019 2:37:27 PM


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Nicklaus Children's Dental Mobile Unit

Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The 40-foot mobile unit is Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s latest endeavor to assist families in need as part of its vision “to be where the children are” in South Florida and beyond. In addition to screenings and exams, services can include varnish treatments, dental sealants, oral and health hygiene education as well as referrals for follow-up oral treatment, to underserved families of children who do not have dental insurance. Learn more.