My Tooth Hurts, What Might be Wrong?

Tooth Pain Dental Treatment

Tooth pain is not only uncomfortable, but it impacts our entire well-being. When our ability to eat, talk, focus, and sleep is reduced, it can be hard to function and do everyday tasks and routines. Not only is it painful, but it can also be a sign of something serious that needs to be treated by a dentist immediately in case you need a root canal, dental crown or tooth extraction.

Causes of Tooth Pain

Tooth pain can happen for several different reasons.


A cavity is when there is a hole in the tooth’s enamel. A small cavity may not cause discomfort, but as it continues to decay, the nerves may become exposed, which can cause sharp pain or a toothache. Treating cavities with fillings can preserve the integrity of your tooth. If the cavity is too severe, a root canal may be needed.


An abscess can be caused by food particles being pushed down into the gums, leading to serious infection. The site may swell and have pus while being extremely painful. If left untreated, it can also lead to gum disease. A dentist can provide antibiotics to clear up the infection. Properly brushing and flossing is your best defence against an abscess.

Fracture or Injury

Accidents happen, and your teeth can sustain injuries or fractures, which can cause extreme pain. A dental crown, cap or implant could be a potential solution in these cases.

Injury causes increased swelling and inflammation, which can lead to discomfort. Injury could happen from biting on something hard, grinding or clenching your teeth overnight, or head trauma that caused your jaw to smack together. Typically, discomfort from injury clears up in a few days, but if you’re not seeing an improvement in symptoms, contact your dentist.

Lost Filling

Fillings can pop out from the material breaking down over time, decay under or around the filling, or too much force is put on the area. When fillings fall out, there’s an exposed cavity, which can cause pain. In this case, a dentist can replace the filling for you, and the pain should clear up quickly.

Wisdom Tooth Eruption

Wisdom teeth start to come in around the age of 17 to 25, but it can also happen much later in life. Wisdom tooth eruption can cause significant discomfort. Wisdom tooth extraction might be necessary to preserve your smile, especially if there isn’t enough room for your wisdom teeth to come in. Wisdom teeth are hard to reach with your toothbrush and are at risk for inflammation and infection. As a general rule, tooth extraction is likely the best solution if there is pain.


Temporomandibular joint pain is a common condition that affects the joint, allowing you to open your mouth, chew, and talk. TMJ pain can feel like tooth pain, especially if it is the result of grinding or clenching your teeth.

Sinus-related Pain

Sinus-related pain during a cold, allergies, or congestion can cause tooth pain, as the sinus floor is so close to the roof of your mouth. Typically, with sinus pain, there will be pain sensations from the upper teeth to behind the eyes.

Gum Infection or Receding Gums

If you have an infection in your gums, it’s hard to tell if it’s in the gums or the teeth. The mild version of gum infection is gingivitis.

Receding gums can cause the enamel at the gum to wear away, which can cause tooth sensitivity to hot and cold. Brushing your teeth too aggressively, excess plaque or sustaining trauma can lead to receding gums over time.

Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth

Grinding and clenching your teeth can lead to injury or broken teeth, headaches, facial pain, stiff jaw, and earaches.

Pain Following a Dental Appointment

If you’ve recently attended a dental appointment and had work done on your teeth and you’re now experiencing pain, it’s important to head back to the dentist to check for anything out of the ordinary. Some dental procedures can cause pain, like tooth extraction, but it’s important to return to the dentist to catch any sign of infection if it is prolonged and not improving.

Potential Solutions for Treating Tooth Pain

Root Canal

When there is advanced tooth decay, fracture or injury, the nerve inside your tooth becomes exposed and may become infected. When the enamel has deteriorated, the nerve becomes compromised, which can be painful. An abscess may develop in the bone at the root of the tooth. A root canal aims to save the natural tooth by removing the root of the damaged tooth.

Dental Crown

All-ceramic dental crowns are a restoration tool to preserve the function of teeth that have undergone repair or a root canal treatment. Crowns are a fantastic treatment option for teeth that have fillings that are larger than the natural tooth.

Tooth Extraction

In cases like wisdom teeth eruption or where a root canal can’t save the natural tooth, tooth extraction is often necessary. In the case of wisdom teeth, when they first come in, and you don’t have enough space for them, it can cause teeth to shift, and you’ll have discomfort, which is why we see so many younger people having them removed before they lead to future issues. Impacted wisdom teeth are at an increased risk for infection and bacteria.

Trust the Dental Team at Airdrie 8th Street Dental

The Airdrie 8th Street Dental team can help identify the cause of your tooth pain and suggest an appropriate treatment. Benefits were recently renewed, and we offer direct billing for your convenience. We are always accepting new patients, and we have evening and weekend appointments for when the pain strikes. When it comes to tooth pain, the sooner you see a professional, the better. Book your appointment today.

Dr. Rahul Mathur

Medically reviewed by Dr. Ratul Mathur - DDS, a Registered Dentist. on January 4th, 2024