Why Do I Have Toothache?

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
Why Do I Have Toothache?

Have you woken up with toothache? It is one of the most common reasons for a person to go to the dentist. This symptom may appear from one day to another, and has various causes. The mouth is a highly sensitive area, and suffering any sort of tooth damage can cause a very intense pain. The pain may spread to other areas - such as the head - as a result, which causes greater discomfort. It's always necessary to visit the dentist in such occasions, and it often comes down to a lack of oral hygiene or an inadequate teeth cleaning routine.

If you're wondering why do you have toothache, OneHowTo gives you some possible answers. Read on.

You may also be interested in: How To Relieve a Toothache at Home

Dentin hypersensitivity

Dentin hypersensitivity is one of the main reasons why you may feel toothache. In order to comprehend why you have sensitive teeth and how to prevent it, it's important to understand the different components of the tooth.

Our teeth contain a slightly softer interior part known as dentin, with two canals full of nerve endings. Dentin is covered by tooth enamel. When the enamel is worn down (for various reasons), tooth sensitivity occurs; liquids and foods come in contact with the dentinal nerves. This brings the familiar stinging sensation in your mouth each time you eat food, especially when it's very hot or cold.

Enamel wear, which causes dental sensitivity, has various causes:

  • Sharp brushing
  • Excessive tooth whitening
  • Excessive consumption of highly acidic foods
  • Others
Why Do I Have Toothache? - Dentin hypersensitivity

Tooth decay and cavities

Another of the most common reasons for toothache is tooth decay and cavities. It is one of the most common and well-known oral conditions, and, in most cases, is a consequence of poor oral hygiene. Therefore, it is imperative to know how to brush your teeth properly.

Mouth bacteria accumulates every time you eat or drink. This bacteria builds up and ends up forming what is known as dental plaque if you don't brush your teeth properly. This set of bacteria gathers between the tooth and gum and turns into dental calculus which progressively damages the enamel of the tooth. This situation causes the enamel to wear down until it produces a hole. When this happens, the bacteria move inside the tooth and build up. This increasingly damages the tooth's interior and causes pain when the nerve is damaged.

Why Do I Have Toothache? - Tooth decay and cavities

Pulp hyperemia

When a condition such as a tooth decay or hypersensitivity is left untreated, bacteria can reach the dentinal tubules causing inflammation in the pulp. The pulp is a tissue located in the inside of the tooth, which contains blood vessels and nerves. When this area is damaged the nerve dies, almost inevitably. In these cases, it is common to experience toothache when biting and chewing food. There are two main types of pulp damage:

Reversible pulpitis

The dental pulp is alive, and once bacteria or other invaders are removed, the pulp's swelling goes down and it returns to its normal state.

Irreversible pulpitis

This occurs when damage to the pulp and nerve inflammation cannot be treated.

Pulp necrosis

The nerve of the dead dental pulp. In these cases, it's possible that the tooth changes color due to the decomposition of pulp tissue. Pulp necrosis is one of the causes of toothache.

Gingivitis and periodontitis

Whilst oral conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis cause gum damage, they can also cause toothache. They occur when there is a build-up of plaque between the tooth and gum. This build-up causes inflammation of the gums, redness and irritation. It is important to know that bacterial plaque creates tartar, which can't be removed unless you go to a dentist. It is, therefore, very important to prevent tartar build-up.

When gingivitis is prolonged and left untreated, it can cause a more serious oral condition known as periodontitis, which affects the bone and poses the risk of teeth falling. If you notice gum swelling, redness, irritation and you bleed while brushing your teeth, you should visit the dentist.

Why Do I Have Toothache? - Gingivitis and periodontitis

Dental trauma

Another response to the question "why do I have toothache?" is dental trauma. This situation usually derives from taking a knock to the mouth, which can cause the tooth to fall out. When this happens, the nerve can be exposed which brings about intense toothache.

In order to eliminate pain, it's necessary to reconstruct the tooth in order to cover up the nerve ending. Tooth decay that has been left untreated can also wear away part of the tooth until it reaches the nerve.

Why Do I Have Toothache? - Dental trauma


Bruxism is the involuntary habit of grinding teeth together, causing pressure on the jaw. Prolonged pressure on your teeth can cause tooth damage along with earache, headache or neck pain. Many people suffer from bruxism at night, so they don't understand why do they have toothache or jaw pain when they wake up.

This condition is more common in people suffering from stress, nervousness or anxiety, and requires specialized medical treatment.

Why Do I Have Toothache? - Bruxism

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Do I Have Toothache?, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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