Why does my tooth hurt?

Why does my tooth hurt?
Most people will experience tooth pain at least once in their lifetime, especially if there is no proper dental care.

Dental pain is often associated with the presence of cavities. However, teeth are highly complex and caries are not the only cause. Moreover, distinct things could be the reason why you are planning on visiting a dental emergency dentist.

In this article, we will discuss what is dental pain and the distinct reason causing it.
What is toothache?
Toothache is any pain or discomfort inside or around a tooth. This happens when the dental pulp inside a tooth gets inflamed. The pulp is comprised of micro blood vessels and highly sensitive nerve endings.

Every time there’s a harmful external stimulus, the pulp will react as a self-defense mechanism and inflame itself. This condition is called pulpitis.

It is vital to understand that dental hypersensitivity is not the same as pain.
Is pain always a dental emergency?
Not always. This will be determined by the cause and the severity of the pain.
It is recommended to visit a dental emergency dentist if you are suffering excruciating pain, systematic symptomatology such as fever, or an extensive tooth fracture.
There are many causes for a toothache, such as:
The most common reason for a toothache. The severity of the pain it produces will be determined by its proximity to the dental pulp.
It will inflame as a reaction to the microorganism demineralizing the tooth.
This will often make the tooth hurt when in contact with cold beverages or sweet food such as candies.
Bruxism and enamel wear off
Grinding or brushing your teeth too hard can wear off the enamel and expose the dentin.
Dentin is more porous than the enamel, making it less effective as a pulp protector and leaving the tooth more susceptible to distinct stimulus.

Wrongly done restorations could have a premature contact. This causes an imbalance in the biting and makes the tooth receive excessive forces. Thereby, leading to pulp inflammation.

Extensive restorations in proximity to the pulp can also cause pain and discomfort.

Lastly, defects on the margin of the restoration can allow for microorganisms to get close to the pulp and trigger a reaction.


A hard impact on the tooth can burst the blood vessels in the pulp. This will cause internal tooth bleeding that will end up in pulp necrosis.

At first, the pulp will be highly inflamed causing severe pain. It will later turn into necrosis. A dead pulp won’t feel anything. However, it releases gases that get exacerbated by heat. This creates pressure inside the tooth which turns into pain.

The necrotic pulp can create a painful infection in the bone around the tooth root.

There are many reasons why you might experience toothache even with good dental care. It is essential to appoint regular check-ups to prevent anything that could turn into pain and make you take a trip to the clinic for a dental emergency.


BENDER, I. (2000). Pulpal pain Diagnosis—A Review. Journal of Endodontics, 26(3), 175-179. Doi:10.1097/00004770-200003000-00012
Dodge, L. (2020, December 08). Why is your tooth hurting? Retrieved May 26, 2021, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/why-does-my-tooth-hurt-1059322
Frisbee, E. (2020, November 17). Toothaches: Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, remedies. Retrieved May 26, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/toothache
Hossain, M., Bakri, M., Yahya, F., Ando, H., Unno, S., & Kitagawa, J. (2019). The role of transient receptor potential (trp) channels in the transduction of dental pain. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(3), 526. Doi:10.3390/ijms20030526
Iftikhar, N. (201, January 28). 8 Causes of Throbbing Tooth Pain, and What to Do. Retrieved May 25, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/throbbing-tooth-pain
Longridge, N. N., & Youngson, C. C. (2019). Dental pain: Dentine Sensitivity, hypersensitivity and cracked Tooth Syndrome. Primary Dental Journal, 8(1), 44-51. Doi:10.1177/205016841900800101
Sawyers, T. (2019, January 23). How to get rid of toothache at night. Retrieved May 25, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-toothache-at-night#home-treatment

Call Us Today