What That Tooth Pain Could Be Telling You

Amy Uncategorized

You just woke up, and have found yourself frustrated by the pain emanating from your jaw. Worse, you don’t know what has caused it. Could it be a fluke? A cavity? An abscessed tooth? Learning about the many kinds of oral pain, and the various causes, can help you to determine when you might have a serious problem, and what form of restorative treatment might help. Most importantly, if you experience severe or prolonged pain, or even extreme sensitivity, you should consult your dentist, sooner rather than later.

What Causes Tooth Pain?

There are a number of degrees and causes of oral pain, from a general ache, to a sharp and shooting pain. The type of pain you’re experiencing can give you clues as to what might be wrong.

  • Cavities are the most common cause of tooth pain. They’re brought about by tooth decay, which is generally the result of poor oral hygiene. Not all cavities are painful, but many patients do experience localized tooth pain when they have a large cavity.
  • Gum disease can also cause pain, and it too is the result of bacteria, which can inflame and irritate the gums. If you’re experiencing soreness throughout your mouth, this could be due to gingivitis, though redness and bleeding gums can also be indicators of gum disease.
  • Pain specific to a single tooth could also be a sign of an abscess, or tooth infection. If you seek treatment promptly, you can likely save the tooth and prevent spread of the infection.
  • If your pain is in or around your jaw, nighttime teeth grinding or TMJ could be to blame. These are usually marked by pain or discomfort when you wake up, and while chewing. You might also notice a “popping” noise when you fully extend your jaw.
  • Sometimes what feels like a “toothache” can actually be a symptom of a medical condition. Shingles and sinus infections are two examples of illnesses that can cause your teeth to feel sore.

How Can a Dentist Help?

Preventive dentistry is the least-invasive way to care for your teeth. Brushing and flossing aren’t always enough to ward off plaque buildup, which can become tartar. Professional cleanings are necessary to eliminating tartar buildup, which is the main cause of cavities and gingivitis, the leading causes of tooth pain.

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, though, you may already have a problem. During a checkup, your dentist can determine exactly what is wrong, and the best course of restorative treatment.


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.