What causes toothache?

Toothache occurs when the innermost layer of the tooth (dental pulp) becomes inflamed. The pulp is made up ofsensitive nerves and blood vessels.

Dental pulp can become inflamed as a result of:

  • tooth decay this leads to holes (cavities) forming in the hard surface of the tooth
  • a cracked tooth the crackis often so small that it can't be seen with the naked eye
  • loose or broken fillings
  • receding gums where the gums shrink(contract) to expose softer, more sensitive parts of the tooth root
  • periapical abscess a collection of pus at the end of the tooth caused by a bacterial infection

There are a number of other conditions that can cause pain similar to toothache, even though the pulp isn't affected. These include:

  • periodontal abscess a collection of pus in the gums caused by a bacterial infection
  • ulcers on your gums
  • sore or swollen gums around a tooth that's breaking through for example, when your wisdom teeth start to come through
  • sinusitis which sometimes causes pain around the upper jaw
  • an injury to the joint that attaches the jaw to the skull (temporomandibular joint)

Babies can also experience discomfort when their teeth start to develop. This is known as teething .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dez 2018