What Causes a Toothache, Besides Cavities

Man With Tooth Pain“My tooth hurts. It must have a cavity.”

Well, maybe it does. However, other conditions can cause a tooth to be sensitive to hot or cold foods, to the pressure of chewing… or to just plain ache.

A few of these other toothache possibilities are:

  1. Shrinkage of the gum down below the top part of the tooth (crown) onto the tooth surface. This part of the tooth (cementum) is as sensitive to hot and cold as the part of the tooth (dentin) affected by a cavity.
  2. A new filling. When a tooth is treated to repair a cavity, it will sometimes be sensitive for a while afterwards. This reaction is normal and will usually soon correct itself.
  3. A tooth that has drifted into a position where it is now striking too hard against other teeth. This can sometime occur in anyone’s mouth, but most often happens when teeth have shifted because a lost tooth has not been replaced.
  4. A grinding or clenching habit. Sometimes people will grind or clench their teeth without being aware of it while awake. It my also happen during sleep. In either case, this habit can cause pain.

It is important to pay attention to the early warning signals our bodies send us. If you feel something unusual in your mouth, come into the office to find out the cause and learn the best way to deal with the condition.

About William J. Black, DDS

William Black earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then went on to the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry, where he graduated in 1992. Following dental school, Dr. Black served in the Untied States Navy for 3 years as a dentist. He then settled in the Sacramento area where he opened his practice in 1996. Dr. Black is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), Sacramento District Dental Society (SDDS), Academy of General Dentistry, and American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He is currently pursuing Mastership with the Academy of General Dentistry and accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.


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