Toothache or tooth pain is caused when the pulp tissue, which contains the nerve of a tooth, is irritated. Dental (tooth) infection, decay, injury, inflammation of the gum and bones surrounding the teeth, or traumatic occlusion is the most common causes of dental pain. Pain sometimes originates from other areas and radiates to the jaw, thus appearing to be tooth pain. Common areas that pain can radiate from include the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint or TMJ), Facial muscles, ear pain, and even occasional heart problems.

Toothache Causes

Toothache occurs from inflammation of the central portion of the tooth called pulp. The pulp contains nerve endings that are very sensitive to pain. Inflammation to the pulp or pulpitis may be caused by dental cavities, trauma, and infection.

Toothache Symptoms

Toothache and jaw pain are common complaints. There may be severe pain to pressure, or to hot or cold stimuli. The pain may persist for longer than 15 seconds after the stimulus is removed. As the area of inflammation increases, the pain becomes more severe. It may radiate to the cheek, the ear, or the jaw. Other signs and symptoms that may lead you to seek care include the following:

  • Pain with chewing
  • Hot or cold sensitivity
  • Bleeding or discharge from around a tooth or gums
  • Swelling around a tooth or swelling of your jaw
  • Injury or trauma to the area