Essential Facts About Toothaches (Signs, Causes, Treatments)

Toothaches can happen for a variety of causes. Sometimes the reason is apparent – for example, if you’ve been smacked in the face or mistook a rock for a sandwich – but other times, the pain seems to come out of nowhere.

Toothache isn’t always a cause for concern, but in some cases, it can indicate an underlying problem that will worsen if left untreated. That’s why we recommend seeing a dentist if you experience sudden or puzzling tooth pain or other unusual symptoms.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Toothache?

Agony and discomfort are apparent symptoms of a toothache, but they can range from a minor ache that comes and goes to severe persistent pain or only occurs when you bite down. The pain may be localized in one tooth or spread across several teeth.

The following symptoms may accompany a toothache:

  • jaw, ear, head, or face pain
  • sensitivities to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages
  • edema around the tooth or elsewhere
  • terrible breath or unpleasant taste in one’s mouth
  • bleeding in the mouth
  • pus or fluid oozing from the gums
  • fever

If you have any of these symptoms, you should get treatment from a dentist or doctor as soon as possible.

When to See a Dentist

If you have a toothache that lasts for more than a few days, or the pain is getting worse, you should see a dentist. Pain that is persistent, severe, or comes on quickly may be a sign of an infection, which will only get worse without treatment.

You should also see a dentist if you have unexplained tooth pain that comes on suddenly and goes away after a few days. This sudden onset could be a sign of nerve damage in the tooth, requiring root canal treatment.

Treatments For Various Causes of Toothaches

Most toothaches can be treated at home through pain management using over-the-counter painkillers, but if the pain doesn’t go away after a few days, you may need further treatment. In some cases, a dentist will be able to identify the problem and fix it quickly, while in others, you’ll need to see a specialist. The type of treatment you need depends on the cause of your toothache. If the problem is a cavity, your dentist will usually fill it with restorative material. This will help stop the tooth from becoming damaged and relieve pain.

If an infection is behind the toothache, your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics to kill the infection. If the infection is severe and doesn’t get better after two weeks of treatment, you may need to see a specialist to have the tooth removed to stop the infection from spreading.

If your toothache is caused by swelling of the gum, you may need to see a periodontist who will drain the gum and treat any underlying infection.

If the pain is caused by a broken tooth, your dentist will either repair the tooth or remove it, depending on the severity of the break. Even a tiny crack in a tooth can cause toothache, so it’s essential to see a dentist immediately if you suspect your tooth has been damaged.


Toothache can be a persistent and annoying problem that makes eating, drinking, and even talking very painful. Since the pain can be so severe and the causes of a toothache can be hard to pinpoint, it’s essential to see your dentist if you suspect you may have a toothache so you can get the correct diagnosis and treatment. If you’re experiencing a persistent toothache, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.

Smart Dental Care offers 24-hour dental care services in Utah and Holladay. Aside from performing family dentistry services, we also handle cosmetic dentistry concerns for people needing help from their oral health. Visit our website and book an appointment today.