3 Potential Sources of Toothaches and What to Do


Sixth Street Dental


March 4, 2020

When something is wrong with your mouth, there’s no way to hide it. Sensitivity in the mouth is difficult to ignore as it is triggered by hot or cold temperatures or eating. However, the pain you feel from stimuli often isn’t just sensitivity — it’s a sign of a serious issue in your mouth. As the best dentist in Pittsburgh, Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics wants to ensure that you’re properly addressing oral health pain as it arises, which is why we’re here to break down potential sources for toothaches. With this information, you can better assess when to seek help from the best dentist in Pittsburgh for your pain.

What does a toothache feel like?

The Best Dentist in Pittsburgh Explains the Feel and Source of Tooth Pain

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Oral pain can sometimes feel unbearable. Outside of an ulcer or small cut, oral pain is often a sign of a serious issue. According to the best dentist in Pittsburgh, toothaches are caused by exposure of nerves — meaning that toothaches are no laughing matter.

The exposure of a nerve occurs during inflammation of the central portion of the tooth called the pulp. The nerve endings within the pulp are extremely sensitive to pressure and hot or cold stimuli, causing the pain to radiate into the cheek, jaw, and ear. Some other signs and symptoms of a toothache that may lead you to need care include:

  • Pain with chewing
  • Hot or cold sensitivity
  • Bleeding or discharge from around a tooth or gums
  • Swelling around a tooth or swelling of your jaw
  • Injury or trauma to the area

While it’s fairly simple to understand the source of the pain, there are a number of causes for toothaches — which we’ll break down in just a moment.

The Best Dentist in Pittsburgh Explains 3 Causes for Toothaches

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Tooth Abscess

One potential source for a toothache, according to the best dentist in Pittsburgh, is a tooth abscess. A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms as a result of a bacterial infection. The abscess is called either a periapical or periodontal abscess depending on the location — the tip of the root or in the gum, respectively — and entails different treatment depending on the location.

In the case of a periapical abscess, patients often experients severe, radiating pain from the source tooth. It is often caused by an untreated cavity or prior dental work. To repair a dental abscess, the pus must be drained. If it’s early enough, the infection can be treated. However, usually a root canal or tooth extraction is necessary.


Cavities are perhaps the most common source of toothaches. As permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of the tooth that lead to tiny openings in the teeth, cavities can lead to revealing of the nerve and infection if left untreated.

The holes tend to form due to bacteria, sugary foods, and improper cleaning of the mouth. Because of this, they’re particularly common in children who have yet to develop healthy oral health habits. When left untreated, cavities can be extremely severe and lead to infection, abscesses, and tooth loss, making it extremely important to contact the best dentist in Pittsburgh as soon as you notice a persistent toothache.

Tooth Trauma

Another reason you could be experiencing tooth pain is tooth trauma or injury. Much like the rest of your body, teeth and gums can get injured or bruised from traumas, including:

  • Accidental falls
  • Car accidents
  • Sporting accidents
  • Biting down on something hard

In the case of tooth trauma, it’s important to pay attention to your pain regardless of whether the tooth is visibly cracked, chipped, or has fallen out altogether. If left untreated, the tooth can eventually die and need to be removed. In other words, it’s a good idea to contact your dentist for a checkup after any type of oral trauma to ensure that your teeth are healthy.

Think it’s time to check up on that stubborn tooth pain? Get in touch with the team at Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics today to make an appointment.


Get in Touch with Sixth Street today!

125 Sixth Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
400 Baldwin Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

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