Call nowBook now

Welcome to No Gaps Dental - Sydney's family & children's dentist

what causes toothache sydney

What Causes Toothache? Discover How to Fix It With Dental Emergency

When it comes to dental pain, toothaches are one of the most common complaints. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, it’s essential to see a dentist and find out the underlying reason, but here are some suggestions for what causes toothache.

Tooth pain is hard to ignore whether you are experiencing dull, throbbing or sharp, severe pain. The pain you experience is typically caused by the tooth’s nerve becoming irritated, although pain radiating to the jaw from elsewhere can sometimes seem to be tooth pain.

Unless you have experienced trauma to the tooth and it is broken, tooth pain is unlikely to be a dental emergency. In most cases, the pain can be alleviated with over-the-counter painkillers until a routine dental appointment is scheduled. However, if you are in severe pain, you should contact an emergency dentist as a matter of urgency.


What Causes Toothache?

Many things can cause tooth pain. Oral health problems—from tooth decay and gum disease to an infected tooth or exposed root are some of the commonest.


Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of toothache. Decay is caused by several things, including a build-up of plaque on the teeth, poor oral hygiene, and a diet high in sugar. 

action toothache emergency sydneySo, how does decay cause tooth pain? If tooth decay is not treated, the erosion can reach the soft pulp layer in the tooth’s centre. This contains nerves and other tissue, which can become irritated or infected and cause pain–particularly with hot and cold stimuli.

Furthermore, untreated tooth decay can lead to an abscess — a  pustular swelling that can erupt in the gum near an infected tooth. This can also cause tooth pain and a throbbing sensation in the gum.

Tooth decay is easily treated with a filling, but if it has reached the pulp chamber and there is an infection, a root canal procedure is usually required. Tooth decay is not a dental emergency. However, the infection can spread to other parts of your body—including the brain. If it is causing severe pain, you should see an emergency dentist.


Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by plaque bacteria and a lack of dental hygiene. However, other factors may contribute to it, including genetics, chronic health issues and even types of medication.

The disease typically does not cause tooth pain, but it gradually destroys the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums and bone. During advanced stages, it can lead to painful abscesses—and eventually tooth loss.



Exposed Tooth Root

A tooth root is the part of the tooth below the gum line. When the root is exposed, it can cause tooth pain. There are a few reasons why this may happen. 

  • First, the root may be exposed due to gum disease. This happens when the gums around the tooth get inflamed and start to pull away from the tooth, exposing the root and making it more sensitive to pain. 
  • Second, an exposed tooth root can be the result of tooth decay. When tooth decay reaches the root, it gradually breaks down the tooth enamel, exposing the root and making it more sensitive to pain.
  • Third, an exposed tooth root may result from trauma to the tooth. This can happen if the tooth is knocked or when it is extracted. When the root is exposed in this way, it can cause severe pain, and you should schedule a dental appointment for treatment.


What Else Causes Toothache?

As well as common dental problems, toothache can also be caused by dental injury and bruxism. Let’s take a closer look.


Dental injury and trauma

Dental trauma is any injury to the teeth, gums, or jaws. It can occur due to a fall, a car accident, or even from biting down on hard food.

In most cases, trauma is not a dental emergency and can be treated by your dentist. However, sometimes, a tooth injury (such as a knocked-out tooth or a tooth split in two) can cause severe pain that an emergency dentist should treat.



tooth pain cause sydneyBruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common condition affecting millions worldwide and can contribute to head, jaw and tooth pain. Although the exact cause of bruxism is unknown, several factors may contribute to the development of this condition, including stress, anxiety, misaligned teeth, and genetics. 

Although bruxism is often harmless, it can lead to serious oral health problems if left untreated. Over time, bruxism can cause excessive wear and tear on the teeth and pain and sensitivity, including headaches, jaw pain, and even tooth loss. If you do grind your teeth, it’s crucial to see a dentist so they can diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate treatment.


When is Toothache an Emergency?

Most of us have experienced tooth pain, but it can usually be resolved with over-the-counter medication until we can see a dentist. However, dental emergency care should be sought if you are experiencing:

  • Severe pain that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medication
  • Swelling in the face or mouth
  • Excessive bleeding from the mouth that won’t stop
  • A tooth that has been knocked out
  • A severely cracked or broken tooth 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t delay seeking emergency dental care. The sooner you are seen by a dentist, the better.


The Bottom Line

Now you know what causes toothache, how can you help prevent it?

Oral health diseases that can cause pain are preventable with twice daily brushing and flossing. Although accidents can happen at any time, it’s recommended to wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports or have bruxism to protect your teeth and prevent injury. 


If you’re suffering from a toothache or would like a custom mouthguard, why not schedule an appointment with the experienced, friendly dentists at a No Gaps dental clinic near you? Call us now on (02) 8007 6727.





Healthline: The stages of tooth decay: what they look like

Medical News Today: What’s to know about dental abscesses?

Medical News Today: What is bruxism or teeth grinding?





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This