6 Shocking Reasons Why Your Teeth Hurt!


It can be all-consuming when your teeth hurt. Dental pain is arguably one of the most uncomfortable feelings and can stop your day in its tracks until you can find relief. Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward treatment for sore teeth, as tooth discomfort can result from numerous unexpected scenarios or diseases.

Let’s take a deeper look into what could be causing your tooth pain.

Common Causes for Tooth Pain

Identifying the cause of your tooth pain is the first step in determining a treatment plan and finding relief. Here are some of the most common reasons why you have tooth pain:


Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, can cause significant jaw pain and even damage to teeth. Grinding or teeth clenching generally occurs while you sleep, so you may not even be aware of it. If you’re a tooth-grinder, you can thank possible sleep disorders, misaligned teeth, or, most commonly, stress and anxiety. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, dental professionals have noticed a significant rise in patients with stress-related teeth grinding.

With the right mouthguard or dental splint, you can prevent tooth grinding and finally free yourself of bruxism-related tooth pain.


Cavities are areas of dental decay within a tooth. If left untreated, the tooth decay can worsen and eventually eat through your tooth enamel to the tooth pulp and nerves. When a cavity becomes this deep, it can cause severe pain and even infection.

The best way to address cavities is prevention. By brushing regularly, flossing every day, and seeing your dentist for routine dental cleanings, you can help prevent painful cavities. If a cavity does occur, catching it early will give you the best prognosis.


teeth hurt


Gum Disease

Your teeth could actually be uncomfortable as a result of inflamed gums. Gum disease frequently referred to as gingivitis, is characterized by red, swollen, sensitive, or bleeding gums. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that can remain under the gums if proper dental care or professional cleanings are not performed. Gingivitis can lead to pain and even loose teeth over time if not treated.


If you are pregnant and experience tooth pain, you are not alone. Unfortunately, pregnant women are at higher risk for cavities and gingivitis, which can both lead to tooth discomfort. Nearly 3 out of every 4 pregnant women experience gingivitis during pregnancy. Be sure to schedule a dental exam if you experience tooth sensitivity during pregnancy to determine the best way to protect your unborn child while protecting your mouth.

Wisdom Teeth

Persistent pain in the back of your jaw may point to wisdom tooth pain. When these last molars erupt, sometime in your late-teens to early-adult years, they can cause a number of problems. Wisdom teeth tend to overcrowd the mouth and can come in at odd angles. This awkward growth can force wisdom teeth to push up against the roots of other teeth, causing even more pain and potential damage to existing, healthy teeth.

The best route of action to treat or prevent wisdom teeth discomfort is to surgically remove wisdom teeth-either before they cause permanent damage or before they even have the chance to erupt. In addition, your dentist can perform diagnostics, like dental radiographs, to predict whether your wisdom teeth will cause issues.

Temperature Sensitivity

If you discover that your tooth pain after drinking or eating very cold or hot substances, a few different things could be to blame. You could have a cavity, gingivitis, cracked tooth, among other dental issues.

These conditions can result in temperature sensitivity and/or persistent tooth pain. Enamel erosion is a common culprit of tooth sensitivity. The outer enamel of your teeth can become weakened secondary to acidic foods or beverages like citrus fruits or sodas. Avoiding these acidic things can help reduce your tooth sensitivity, but it won’t repair any eroded enamel. Talk to your dentist about any oral sensitivity at your next dental exam.




What to Do If You Have Tooth Pain

If you experience tooth pain, the first thing you should do is phone your dentist. Securing a dental exam will ensure that you address the cause of pain before it worsens further into an urgent or potentially expensive situation.  If you call during office hours, describe your pain to our compassionate staff. We can ensure that you’re scheduled for our earliest available appointment to see the dentist and may be able to provide immediate recommendations to keep you comfortable until your visit.

Should your pain occur outside of regular hours, don’t panic. Create a reminder to call when the dental office opens, then proceed with the following strategies:

  • Rinse your mouth with mild saline, or saltwater, a few times daily. This will help clean any areas that may be a source of pain and reduce discomfort.
  • Place a cold compress (like a bag of frozen vegetables or ice pack wrapped in a towel) on the outside of your face, directly over the area of pain, to reduce inflammation.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain relief medication to alleviate discomfort.
  • If your pain worsens or becomes unbearable, seek medical attention.

When to Seek Professional Help if Your Teeth Hurt

Any time you experience oral pain, it is advised to have it examined by a dental professional. Potential sources of pain could be in difficult-to-reach areas that only your dentist can identify. They may even require advanced diagnostics like dental radiographs in order to find a source of tooth pain.

Whatever the case may be, ignoring the pain when your teeth hurt is never a good idea. Without addressing the source, your pain will continue and likely progress into a very uncomfortable, urgent, and potentially expensive procedure. Allow us to address the minor issue and provide you with the relief you deserve. Reach out to the compassionate team at Peach Valley Dental to schedule an exam today.

Kelle Dennis, D.D.S
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