A toothache is pain that is felt in the mouth or jaw from a problem with one or more teeth or the gums. Sensitivity or pain typically moves along the nerves in the center of the tooth, known as the pulp.
A toothache may be caused by:
Dental decay. Bacteria and other organisms, often present in plaque that forms on the teeth, can result in tooth decay. Pain from decay may not develop until the late stages.
Infection around the tooth.
An impacted tooth. A tooth that does not break through the skin can cause pain and gum inflammation.
Gum disease. Receding gums or unhealthy gums can lead to pain in and around the teeth.
An injury to the pulp. Extreme sensitivity to temperatures or sweet or sour tastes can occur when the pulp has been injured or exposed by wear or the loss of a filling.
Although it is not as common, a toothache can be caused by a problem not related to the teeth, such as a sinus infection, shingles, or cluster headaches.
A toothache should be evaluated by a dentist right away to determine the cause of the problem and prevent the tooth from dying.
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Arden Christen DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry