Ever wondered what does a toothache feel like? A toothache is an extremely uncomfortable and agonizing sensation felt in the root of the tooth or gums. It can be anything between mild to kill-me-please severe. Some toothaches cause temporary discomfort, whereas, some can linger on for days. No matter what kind of tooth pain a person is experiencing, there is always a root cause behind it.

Let’s dig deeper to learn more about this irksome issue and what can be done to avoid it.

What Causes Toothache: The Top Causes

There are various reasons why you could experience a toothache, and we will discuss some of the most common ones below.

Swollen Pulp

Generally, a painful tooth is a result of a swollen dental pulp, which is the innermost coat of the tooth. It comprises mainly of blood vessels and nerves. The following are its known causes:

  • Tooth Deterioration: This condition causes your tooth to develop cavities on its stringent parts, leading to pain.
  • Crack or Fracture in Teeth: A fracture or crack is quite painful but isn’t visible enough to be observed without proper dental tools.
  • Loose or Broken Teeth Fillings: As the dental fillings get older, they tend to get loose or break due to further deterioration of the filled tooth. As a result, your dental pulp gets inflamed.
  • Depletion of Gums: Your gums deplete when they shrink, resulting in the exposure of your dentin or the second layer of the tooth after enamel, which is highly sensitive.
  • Periapical Abscess: This condition is described as the pooling up of pus at the root of teeth due to a microorganism.

Other Causes

  • Periodontal Abscess: This condition refers to the accumulation of pus in the gums due to microbial infection.
  • Ulcers: The development of ulcers on your gums is another cause of tooth pain.
  • Inflamed Gums: Inflammation of gums due to any reason, especially due to the growth of wisdom teeth results in a toothache.
  • Sinusitis: The pressure on your sinuses due to a sinusitis infection can bring about pain in your upper jaw.
  • Injury or Wound: A damage to the temporomandibular joint can also trigger a toothache.

What Does a Toothache Feel Like: The Different Types

Toothaches vary in intensity and sensation due to differing causes behind them. Here is a list of all the types and how do they feel.

  • Sporadic Jabbing Pain

This type of tooth pain doesn’t actually feel like pain. Instead, it gives off a feeling as if something is being randomly jabbed in one or more of your teeth. Normally, it is a natural response to some external stimulus like eating, chewing, or sometimes even when opening your mouth. This is an excruciating tooth pain, but it’s not consistent. It may be stimulated due to an abscess in the teeth, a cavity in the gums or teeth, and cracked or broken teeth.

  • Tooth Sensitivity

The sensitivity of the teeth is pretty much like the jabbing pain in terms of sensation. However, it only gets triggered when you expose your teeth to altering temperatures, such as sweet or cold beverages. Sometimes, even a simple cold breeze may stimulate the sensitivity of the teeth. This could be a result of a cavity, abscess, or crack in the teeth as well as gum depletion. In the case of people with extra-sensitive teeth, it may even be caused by harsh brushing.

  • Dismal Nagging Pain

Out of all the toothache cases, the major proportion is affected by this type of a toothache. It is a relatively non-serious type of pain due to its mild nature. Unfortunately, it is pretty deep and lingers on for quite a while, which makes it really bothersome. This type of pain can be dealt with by taking OTC pain relievers. However, it is not advisable to opt for them as a permanent solution.

Usually, a damaged nerve, tooth deterioration, or bruxism triggers dismal nagging pain. So, it is recommended to see a dental physician immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

  • Sharp Pulsating Pain

As its name suggests, this toothache is terribly painful and is throbbing in nature. In some severe cases, it can even cause your face to swell up a bit. In case you are experiencing a this, you should immediately seek dental or medical attention. That is because this type of pain is generally caused by a tooth infection or abscess in the gums.

  • Pain While Chewing or Eating

If chewing is a painful activity for you, you must be having a fractured or rotten tooth. Like the pulsating pain, this one is also quite agonizing and shouldn’t be taken lightly at all. You need to see your dental physician as soon as possible if you don’t want it to get any worse. You can minimize this pain by taking OTC painkillers, but it’s a momentary solution as they won’t cure the root cause of your pain.

  • Pain behind Jaws

Unlike the above-mentioned types, this toothache is relatively rare. The reason behind its rarity is that it is normally caused by an obstructed wisdom tooth, which doesn’t afflict every person. As agonizing as this pain may be, it is far more unrelenting to know that you have an issue with your wisdom tooth.

There are a few lucky souls as well who never experience any difficulty while growing their wisdom teeth, but if you are not one of them, you’ll definitely have to see a dentist. If you neglect and let it go on for long, it will just add to your sufferings.

How to Prevent Toothaches: Some Reminders

Once a toothache strikes you, there isn’t much left to do other than seeing a dentist. The best way of keeping tooth pain at bay is to prevent it from happening in the first place. How can you do that? Here are a few tips that you need to follow for maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.

  • Cut down on sugary food items and beverages as they contribute highly to tooth decay.
  • Quit smoking for good.
  • Regular brushing two times a day is a must. While brushing, make sure to clean your tongue and gums as well.
  • Don’t skip flossing and if need be, use mouthwash.
  • Make regular visits to your dental hygienist to ensure your oral health is well-maintained.


Now that you know what does a toothache feel like and what causes this nagging problem, you can always take precautionary measures to avoid it from occurring. Adopting a new routine may feel frustrating at first, but the benefits it holds, in the long run, will definitely outdo the detriments of a painful tooth on any given day.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *