Got a Toothache? Ask Your Dentist Why


If you’ve ever had a toothache, you probably won’t forget it. Although small, your teeth serve a grand purpose (allowing you to chew and speak properly), and when they’re bothered, the discomfort that your teeth can generate packs quite a wallop. In fact, over 25% of adults in America admit to having taken time off work to care for a sensitive or bothersome toothache. A toothache, however, is not a dental condition itself, but rather a symptom of a number of different dental issues. To help you determine the source behind your aching tooth, we explain some of the most common causes behind tooth sensitivity.

Causes of Toothaches

  • Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity, although the decay itself does not cause discomfort. The layer of tooth directly under the enamel, called dentin, contains tiny tubules in its surface that carry sensory information to the bundle of nerves at the center of your tooth. When acid erosion and tooth decay weaken your enamel, the dentin becomes exposed and bacteria and food debris can irritate it, causing extreme discomfort and tooth sensitivity.
  • Gum disease is another common toothache cause, and its reason is similar to that of tooth decay. Instead of exposing your tooth’s dentin, though, gum disease causes your gum tissue to separate and pull away from your teeth. The part of your tooth under your gums is called the root, and when your gums recede, these roots become exposed and are subject to irritation.
  • Sinus infection may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a toothache. The sinuses, however, are located on either side of your nose region. When they swell (due to infection), they press against the nearby upper jawbone and the teeth that it supports, causing pressure sensitivity that closely resembles a dental-related toothache.


Dr. Keelan and our dedicated team at Keelan Dental offer patients the comfortable, convenient dental care that everyone needs and deserves. To schedule an initial consultation, or your next dental appointment, call our office in Butler, PA at (724) 285-4153. We proudly welcome patients of all ages from Butler, Cranberry Township, Mars, Pittsburgh, Butler County, and all surrounding communities.