Toothaches are never fun. They not only affect the mouth but can make life miserable until the pain subsides. Below, we’ll offer some of the common causes of a toothache, how the dentist can help and how to save on toothache relief at the dentist.

A toothache is pain felt in a tooth or teeth. Often this pain is sharp or throbbing and can cause swelling in the gums around a tooth, a fever or headache and vile-tasting drainage from the tooth. Any of these symptoms may occur depending on the cause of the toothache.

Causes of a toothache

Causes of a Toothache

A toothache is caused by the inflammation or irritation of the pulp central to the tooth. In the pulp are nerve endings, making the tooth extremely sensitive to pain. The inflammation of the pulp can be caused by several things, mentioned below.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the most common cause of a toothache. If routine dental hygiene is neglected, plaque builds up and breaks down the tooth enamel. The continuous decay of the tooth can eventually cause infection. Tooth decay can become a crucial problem for anyone – the most susceptible being younger adults and senior citizens. Tooth decay can be prevented by keeping up healthy oral hygiene habits.

Gum Disease

Gingivitis is gum disease in its early stages. This condition causes red, puffy or swollen gums that bleed easily, as opposed to healthy gums, which are pink and rarely bleed. If gingivitis goes untreated, it may advance to periodontal disease – a long-term infection of the gums. With periodontal disease, the gums may pull away from the teeth, exposing large pockets where bacteria can grow and infect the tooth.

Sinus Infection

With a sinus infection, a person’s teeth may experience pain. The top rear teeth are more susceptible to pain because they are close to the sinuses. The toothache should subside as the sinus infection does, but if it persists, it is best to talk to a dentist for further diagnosis.

Grinding Teeth (Bruxism)

When a person grinds their teeth, the enamel on the teeth wears off. Without the protective layer around their teeth, the dentin is exposed and more vulnerable to sensitivity or damage that can cause pain. To prevent teeth grinding, talk to your doctor or dentist about buying a mouth guard.

Tooth Trauma

A tooth trauma is characterized by direct damage to the tooth caused by some sort of accident. Examples can include: accidental falls, car accidents, sporting accidents or biting down on something hard. If involved in an accident, don’t ignore tooth pain. Instead, talk to your dentist immediately about what further actions to take.

Abnormal Bite (Malocclusion)

If someone suffers from an abnormal bite, teeth that are higher than others may receive excess force when the person bites down. This can cause nerve inflammation over time, creating pain in the tooth. Treatment of an abnormal bite will vary depending on each specific case, but an orthodontist may suggest braces, tooth extraction, tooth repair or surgery.

Tooth Eruption

Tooth eruption happens when a tooth begins to come in. This happens commonly in infants when they first begin to grow their teeth and in teens once their wisdom teeth start emerging. In some cases, the gums around the emerging tooth can become inflamed. The simplest form of treatment is pain medicine, but extraction may be best for wisdom teeth.

How Will a Dentist Help My Toothache?

It is best to visit a dentist if the pain is severe, has lasted longer than 2 days or if the individual has a fever, earache or pain when opening the mouth. A dentist will check your medical history, conduct a physical exam and may ask you questions concerning the level of pain, when it started, where it is, how long it has lasted and what makes it worse or better. After that, they may check your mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, throat, jaw, sinuses, ears, nose and neck. Once they have gathered enough information, they will be able to diagnose the problem.

Treatment plans will change depending on the specific situation, but options include: filling a cavity, tooth extraction, root canal, prescribed antibiotics or phototherapy.

Toothache Cost and Savings at the Dentist

Since the type of treatment needed will depend on the cause of the toothache, it can be hard to find estimate costs. Below, however, are some options for treatment and their average costs.

The average prices1 of treatments used to cure a toothache include:

Treatment Average Cost
Filling2 $159
Root Canal3 $805
Single Tooth Extraction4 $193

Many people may ignore a toothache to avoid paying significant bills. Consider signing up for a discount dental plan to save money and relieve pain immediately.

The discounted prices1 of 1Dental’s Careington 500 Plan for certain toothache treatments are included below:

Treatment Care 500 Plan Price SAVINGS!
Filling2 $43 72%
Root Canal3 $294 63%
Single Tooth Extraction4 $55 71%

Join a 1Dental plan today to receive these discounts, as well as a list of in-network dentists and specialists available to help treat your toothache!

  • 1Treatment costs reflect average rates in the state of Texas and may vary depending on the location and cause of the toothache
  • 2ADA Code 2140; One Surface Amalgam (excluding final restoration)
  • 3ADA Code 3310; Endodontic Therapy – Anterior Tooth (excluding final restoration)
  • 4ADA Code 7140; Extraction, Erupted Tooth or Exposed Root (elevation and/or forcepts removal)