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Dental Pain: Common Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A toothache is a painful sensation in or around a tooth. It’s usually a symptom of a problem with your tooth or gums. However, referred pain can occasionally cause toothaches. This indicates that the source of your pain is located somewhere else in your body, so it should never be ignored.

If tooth decay is not addressed, it can spread and cause further pain in the tooth. Although most cases of tooth pain are not life-threatening, there are situations in which a dentist must be seen right away. Learn more about the common causes of toothache and home remedies for alleviating toothache in this article.

Causes of Dental Pain

Dental pain can be caused by various issues, ranging from minor to severe. Among the most common causes of dental pain are the following:

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, also known as dental cavities, is a common oral health problem caused by the breakdown of tooth enamel due to acid produced by bacteria in the mouth. When the enamel on a tooth is damaged, it can cause pain and sensitivity. A toothache accompanied by swelling or fever may indicate an infection requiring immediate treatment. 

Regularly practicing good oral hygiene is important to prevent tooth decay. However, if you are experiencing this dental emergency, seeking same-day emergency dental services from a dentist or emergency dental clinic is important. 

Gum Disease

Also known as periodontal disease, it is a common condition that affects the gums and the bone that supports the teeth. It is caused by bacteria that grow on the teeth and gums, forming plaque. Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis if left untreated, a more severe form of gum disease that can damage the bone and tissues that support the teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss.


Bruxism is a condition that causes a person to grind, clench, or gnash their teeth. It can occur during the day but is more commonly associated with night-time sleep habits. Various factors, including stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, and dental problems, can cause it.

TMJ Disorders

This condition affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jawbone to the skull. The disorder can cause pain, stiffness, and popping or clicking sounds in the jaw joint when opening and closing the mouth. If you’re experiencing TMJ disorder symptoms or in case of severe dental pain, consulting a dentist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan is important.

Dental Pain Remedies

You can try several dental pain remedies at home to relieve discomfort until you can visit a dentist. Here are some examples:

  • Pain relief medication: Over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can effectively relieve dental pain.
  • Cold compress: A cold compress can effectively relieve dental pain, especially if the pain is due to inflammation or swelling. A cold compress relieves pain by helping to numb the area and lessen swelling.
  • Clove oil: Clove oil contains a natural anesthetic that can help relieve tooth pain. You should gently apply clove oil on a cotton ball before being placed on the affected tooth.
  • Dental treatment: Depending on the cause of the dental pain, treatment may be necessary. This could include a filling, root canal, or extraction of the affected tooth. You must visit a dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment of dental pain.

Dental pain can be a sign of a serious condition, and early detection can help prevent more significant problems from developing. You can avoid this problem by practicing good oral hygiene, which includes regular brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. If you experience it, consult your dentist as soon as possible.


Experiencing a toothache can be extremely uncomfortable. Though many home remedies can help a person feel better and get some sleep, they are not long-term solutions. Seeing your family dentist is the best way to determine the cause of your toothache. X-rays and a thorough examination will help her decide on the proper treatment to relieve pain.

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