toothache symptoms and causes

Why Do I Have a Toothache?

At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, we hear a lot of stories surrounding toothache symptoms and causes. Consider these scenarios:

  •    You wake up in the middle of the night with a searing pain in your lower jaw. What is THAT, you wonder?
  •    You’re drinking your first cup of coffee in the morning, and BAM! You feel like you just got stabbed in the mouth. Owww! 
  •    There is a growing ache in your jaw that threatens to overtake your consciousness and you think, I really need to call my dentist.


We know you’ve been there . . . we have, too. What are the causes of tooth and jaw pain? It’s often difficult to self diagnose, because there are several causes that may have similar symptoms.

Tooth decay

Most tooth pain is the result of tooth decay. Infection may have entered through a crack in the enamel or through bacterial build up from irregular oral hygiene. The result is a cavity that must be filled.


An abscess can occur with anyone. It is a pus pocket that forms around the root of a tooth. It won’t go away by itself: it must be treated by a dentist or endodontist. If left untreated, it can affect the bone structure that supports the tooth, and it can spread.

Damaged filling

Some fillings are weaker than the tooth they are in; this is especially true of composite fillings that are more than 10 years old. Problems of infection can also occur with amalgam fillings because they don’t expand or contract with the tooth, allowing bacteria to penetrate to the pulp.


When you grind your teeth, usually from stress, you place constant pressure on them. Continual grinding can wear down and crack teeth. When this happens, infection is right around the corner. Wearing a mouth guard sometimes helps to control bruxism, but any damage needs to be corrected by your dentist.

Infected gums

Gingivitis and periodontal disease are not to be ignored. When gums become infected with bacteria and are left untreated, they not only cause pain, but they can cause you to lose your teeth. If you have red, bleeding, or swollen gums, you need to see your dentist immediately.

Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert is here for your oral health. We have treated all kinds of toothache symptoms and causes. If you are experiencing tooth or jaw pain, please call to make an appointment. Our examination will reveal why you have the pain, and we will suggest the best course of treatment for you—and help restore your teeth so they can serve you well for the rest of your life.



Images used under creative commons license (Commerical Use) 04/22/2022 Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash