Toothaches, such a mystery!

Teeth are an enigma. They are alive on the inside and inert on the outside. A tooth is like a hard calcified shell filled with blood-pumping veins and alert nerves. It can go for years without giving notice of any issue then almost over night send out a clear signal that something is wrong.

When a tooth gives notice you can feel it. Ask anyone who has had a toothache. The mystery is the cause. It maybe something simple, like exposed root surface or a more serious issue like an abscess. What are some of the common causes of tooth pain?

Recessed Gums

Do your teeth seem longer? Or does the gum-line show an indented line with shiny enamel on one part and duller root surface on the other? This can be caused by aging, clenching, and grinding, or injury. The duller root surface is more porous and messages like touch, hot, or cold go quickly to the nerve. Dental nerves communicate one message, pain.


A thin and difficult to detect crack can send you through the roof. Your dentist can take x-rays to find this nearly hidden reason for a toothache.


Decay or caries is like dry rot on wood. The once hard tooth surface becomes chalky then proceeds to crumble away. It may reach the inside of the tooth exposing the inner pulp. There is often a message from your nervy tooth – pain.


When inside of your tooth becomes infected due to decay, injury, or an unknown reason the purulent exudate or pus builds up and escapes out the tip of your tooth root. It pools at apex of your tooth injuring the supporting bone. It may tunnel its way out forming a pimple on your gum.


When the way your teeth touch together is off some teeth are higher than others. The higher teeth hit first and hardest. This can cause dental pain and injury. An occlusal adjustment may be needed.

Sinus Infection

Pressure from inflamed sinuses can cause teeth to ache. This is most often in the upper back molars.


Bouncing babies, falls or misuse (teeth are not meant to cut string, chew fingernails, or open anything) can cause dental pain.

Gum Disease

Inflammation of the supporting tissue due to gum disease may be the source of dental pain.


New tooth moving in? That can cause discomfort.

Movement with Braces

The supporting bone melts away and rebuilds when teeth are moved for braces or orthodontia. Teeth may ache.

Cold Air and Cold Food

A windy artic blast or cold  food or drink can cause teeth to ache.

Referred Pain

As if tooth pain was not strange enough. The pain you feel in one tooth may be from another injured tooth.

The smartest thing to do is see your dentist regularly. He can spot small issues before they become big problems. Many times, dental disease is painless.  But when you do have a toothache see a dentist as soon as possible.

Frankel Dentistry has served the Toledo community since 1946. If you have a toothache have it checked out. Emergencies are seen the same day. There are two locations and evening and Saturday hours.