Your Emergency Dentist Explains the Different Types of Tooth Pain

woman with toothacheOuch! Experiencing some pain in one of your pearly whites? You may say you have a toothache, but “toothache” is just a generic term for any pain that occurs in a tooth. It isn’t an official diagnosis, and it doesn’t describe the problem that is behind the discomfort. Understanding why your tooth hurts is the first step to getting on the road to recovery, and while your emergency dentist in Ephrata is the only one who can make an official diagnosis of the problem, you can make an educated guess about what is wrong based on the nature of your pain. Let’s talk about a few different types of tooth pain and what they mean.

Types of Tooth Pain

Intermittent Jabbing Pain

This type of pain is characterized by stabbing sensations across a tooth or several teeth, usually in response to a stimulus, such as a temperature change or contact with another object. There are a few different possible causes for this type of pain, including cavities, a cracked tooth, or an abscess.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity occurs when you experience sharp pain in a tooth or teeth when you consume hot or cold items. The temperature changes irritate the sensitive inner parts of your tooth and send pain signals to your brain. This may occur due to a cavity, abscess, or gum recession.

Nagging, Dull Pain

For many people, a dull, persistent toothache is pretty easy to ignore. They might take some OTC painkillers and hope the problem goes away on its own. However, just because the pain is mild doesn’t mean there isn’t a serious issue behind it. You may have tooth decay, or the pain may be because of bruxism (involuntarily teeth grinding).

Extreme Pain

When a tooth and its surrounding area begin to experience extreme, throbbing pain, an infection or abscess is the likely cause. If you don’t receive prompt treatment, you could develop a fever or other serious symptoms.

Pain at the Back of the Jaw

Do you still have your wisdom teeth? If your third molars are still in your mouth, they may suddenly decide to start causing trouble by pushing your other teeth out of alignment. They may also become infected more readily than your other teeth.

Pain While Eating

If you experience pain when you put pressure on a tooth (such as when you’re eating), the cause may be a crack or cavity.

Conquering Your Toothache

Regardless of what type of tooth pain you’re experiencing, it’s important that you see your dentist in Ephrata about it as soon as possible. They can examine your teeth and gums and tell you exactly what is causing the problem. Depending on why you’re in pain, the dentist will recommend a treatment. You may need:

  • Fillings or other restorations to treat decay
  • A nightguard for bruxism
  • A root canal to address an infection
  • Extractions

There is no need to fear your appointment. While some of the above procedures might sound a little scary, they all aim to relieve your agony and restore your smile’s health. You can trust your dentist to give you the gentle, compassionate care that you deserve.

About Us

Drs. Sean Moriarty and Suzanne Ahnquist are your emergency dentists in Ephrata, and they’re always ready to leap into action to help you cope with a toothache or other oral health issues. If one of your pearly whites is suffering, please contact our office at 717-733-1088.


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