5 Culprits of Tooth Pain and What To Do When It Strikes

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We all know that feeling, right? It’s late on a Saturday night and out of nowhere tooth pain strikes. Or you have had a dull, throbbing pain in your tooth for days, but all of a sudden it feels like someone’s hitting your tooth with a hammer. Almost nothing is quite as painful or as disruptive as toothache, but when it is severe pain, there is a good chance something else is wrong.

So what are the 5 most common culprits of tooth pain and what can you do when it happens? The teeth professionals at Bela Family Dentistry of Augusta have seen it all firsthand. They understand good preventative care, but if disaster does strike, they also know the ins and outs of restorative care.


One of the most common causes of a painful tooth is when the nerve in the root of your tooth, or even surrounding teeth, becomes infected or irritated. Some other causes of tooth pain include a broken or loose filling, gum disease or periodontitis, an abscess of the tooth, or bruxism (grinding of the teeth).

Of course, there are other causes for toothache, but Bela Family Dentistry of Augusta have identified the most common culprits. Let’s look at each of them in a little more detail.


The problem with tooth decay (cavities) is that it sneaks up on you. In most cases it is caused by poor oral care, creating a hole that gets bigger and deeper over time. By the time you experience the pain associated with the decay, the damage is usually already done.

You can prevent cavities and decay by visiting your dentist regularly to catch holes before they get bigger.


By now you know that a large portion of Americans over the age of 30 suffer from gum disease. Gingivitis, the more common one, has no apparent symptoms, and more often than not, there will be no associated pain.

However, if this is left untreated, the buildup of plaque and the bacteria in your mouth will result in inflamed, swollen gums that might also bleed. The pain might start off gradually, but as the gum disease progresses, it will become worse. Because periodontal disease leads to tooth loss, you should make an appointment with your dentist or oral hygienist immediately.


There are very few things that strike as much dread into a person than an abscess on a tooth.  An abscessed tooth can wreak havoc in a patient’s mouth, including:

  • Swollen gums
  • Severe pain
  • Infected roots
  • Bone loss around the infected area

Abscesses can occur from trauma to the tooth, like it being hit or due to constant tooth grinding, or when the pulp chamber gets infected or damaged. An abscessed tooth can cause extreme pain and fever, swelling around the area, and infection in the mouth. Unfortunately, the poison can spread through your body quickly, which is why you should see your dentist as soon as possible.


Let’s face it, getting a tooth knocked out or broken is definitely going to result in extreme pain. If you are able to act fast enough, there is an excellent chance the tooth can be fixed. But it will require you getting to your dentist immediately.


It isn’t only neglecting your teeth that can cause tooth pain, although that is one of the more common explanations. Something else that can result in severe pain is the bad habit of grinding your teeth. This is also known as bruxism, which wears your teeth down, damaging the enamel and making them more sensitive.

Grinding your teeth when you sleep or clenching your jaw applies unnecessary stress to the muscles in your jaw bone, resulting in pain and TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder. Because bruxism has other symptoms, such as headaches and even shoulder pain, it isn’t always easy to identify.


As luck would have it, unbearable tooth pain usually strikes in the evenings or over the weekend, when there aren’t any dentists around.

If you can’t make an appointment immediately, you can treat the tooth pain at home. However, make sure you contact Bela Family Dentistry of Augusta for a thorough examination and treatment plan as soon as you can.


In most cases, pain medications like ibuprofen will ease the pain. It is available over the counter, and you can take it as needed for two to three days until you can see your dentist.

Biting down on a cotton ball soaked in oil of cloves is also an effective remedy.

Stay away from extremely hot or cold foods, as these will only make the toothache worse.

Remember these treatments are temporary and should only be used to ease the tooth pain until you are able to see your dentist. After a consultation with our team of experts here at Bela Family Dentistry of Augusta, they will be able to discuss the most suitable treatment going forward.

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