Common Causes of Toothaches and How to Manage Tooth Pain

When you consider that 40% of Canadians are afraid of going to the dentist, it's no wonder tooth pain is a common occurrence.

From slight pain to severe throbbing, toothaches are certainly a nuisance. Suffering from ongoing tooth pain can be concerning, especially when you're unsure of the reason for it.

What causes a toothache? How do you stop it?

Here's a look at some of the most common causes of toothaches, how to treat them, and why a trip to a Vancouver dentist might be necessary:


Of course, one of the biggest culprits of a toothache is a cavity. Also known as tooth decay, cavities develop when food and bacteria build up on your teeth and form plaque. The plaque's bacteria produce acids that erode tooth enamel, causing a hole to form.

Unsurprisingly, the hole in your tooth causes pain. An ongoing toothache could signal a cavity, especially if it occurs when you bite down on food. Cavities can also cause hot and cold sensitivity.

Tooth decay can cause serious issues if left untreated, including a tooth abscess or infection.

Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth

Do you wake up with a sore jaw and aren't sure why? You could be grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep.

The condition of grinding, gnashing, or clenching your teeth is called Bruxism. Whether you do it unconsciously during the day or only when you sleep, the effects are the same. Bruxism leads to jaw pain, dull headaches starting in the temples, and tooth pain or sensitivity.

Bruxism cases range from mild to severe, with the latter leading to jaw disorders or damaged teeth.


Gum disease is alarmingly common — 7 out of 10 Canadians will develop it at some point in their lives.

Gingivitis is characterized by redness or swelling of the gums. When plaque develops below the gum line, it hardens into tartar, causing a bacterial infection. More serious gingivitis leads to inflammation and bleeding, especially when brushing your teeth.

The infection of gum tissue can lead to toothaches, and if left untreated, it raises the risk of losing teeth.

A Fracture or Abscess

tooth fracture can result from various circumstances, including teeth grinding, biting on hard foods (nuts, candy, ice, etc.), or being hit in the mouth. The different types of fractures range from shallow cracks in the enamel to more severe cracks that extend into the gum line.

Some fractures go unnoticed, but others cause pain when biting or chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold, or swelling of the gum around the cracked tooth.

One of the main complications to arise from a fracture is a tooth abscess. When this occurs, an infection forms and spreads to the bone and gums, producing a pocket of pus.

An abscessed tooth causes throbbing pain that can radiate to your ear, jaw, or neck. You might also have pain that gets worse when lying down, biting, or chewing. Proper treatment for a tooth abscess is necessary since it can lead to life-threatening conditions.

What Are the Best Remedies for Toothaches?

For milder cases of tooth pain, home treatment can help. Here are a few ways to ease a toothache:

  • Use over-the-counter pain medication or medicated ointments
  • Rinse with warm salt water or hydrogen peroxide (diluted with equal parts water)
  • Hold a cold compress on the affected area for 20-minute periods
  • Apply a warm peppermint tea bag, clove oil, or garlic paste to the painful area

If home remedies are ineffective, a trip to the dentist may be in order to ensure proper treatment.

Find the Best Vancouver Dentist to Treat Your Tooth Pain

There's no need to put off a toothache when a gentle, Vancouver dentist is ready to help! If you have tooth pain that won't go away, Howe Dental Confidential Group is the best option for professional treatment.

Addressing an ongoing toothache is imperative to prevent serious issues down the line. (And treatment may be simpler than you think.)

Request an appointment today to figure out what's causing your tooth pain and how we can help get rid of it!