Let’s Unfold the Different Types of Tooth Pain

Tooth pain is one of the most uncomfortable situations for a patient. In most cases, it is excruciating and interferes with the patient’s routine activities, such as chewing, working, and sleeping. Tooth pain can occur due to several reasons.

Some of the common causes of tooth pain include enamel wear, tooth decay, tooth abscess, gum disease, periodontal breakdown, or traumatic fracture. The intensity, duration, and location of pain vary according to the underlying cause.


It is essential to identify the cause of tooth pain as early as possible and treat it efficiently. This helps to get rid of the discomfort at the same time, save the tooth before extensive damage. There are several professional remedies to treat tooth pain.

Today’s article will highlight the types of tooth pain. Furthermore, we will look at the different treatment modalities for tooth pain.

What is tooth pain?

Typically, tooth pain is described as a feeling of discomfort, unpleasantness, or uncomfortable experience that is mainly caused by decay, inflammation, or damage to a healthy tooth. There are several causes of tooth pain. Some of them include –

  • Tooth Decay or inflammation of the Pulp
  • Tooth Cracks and Fractures
  • Impacted Wisdom Teeth or pericoronitis (1)
  • Gum Disease
  • Enamel wear due to acidic food or acid reflux
  • Referred pain from sinus
  • Tooth abscess

What are the types of tooth pain?

Tooth pain can be differentiated into the following –

  • Acute pain – Acute pain, as the name suggests, is a short-term pain that usually occurs suddenly. Moreover, severe pain has a specific underlying cause, such as traumatic injury. Acute tooth pain usually lasts for a few seconds or minutes and goes away once the underlying cause is treated. Tooth sensitivity is a type of severe pain.
  • Chronic pain – chronic tooth pain usually lasts for more than a few minutes or hours. in some cases, it may be continuous. While past injuries or damage can cause chronic tooth pain, sometimes there may be no apparent cause. Moreover, chronic pain has the potential to impact the quality of life. Pain from pulp inflammation, tooth abscess, or sinus pain is some examples of chronic pain. (2)

What can different tooth pain indicate?

Tooth pain is often an indication of an underlying disease or injury; therefore, it is essential to understand what each type of pain may be associated with. Some of the common types of tooth pain and its causes are listed below –

 Dull and persistent toothache

It is the most common type of tooth pain caused by simple routine activities such as food stuck in between teeth. Some of the potential sources of dull and persistent tooth pain are as follows –

  • Food lodged between your teeth.
  • Food stuck in your gums, such as a husk of popcorn.
  • Teeth grinding or bruxism.
  • Tooth abscess development

Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold

Dental sensitivity is also one of the standard-issue that causes discomfort. Moreover, it has the potential to be a severe issue. Typically toot sensitivity is caused when the enamel layer becomes thin due to erosion or wear. It is essential to pay attention to the triggers of this tooth pain. Moreover, keep a record of how long the pain lasts. (3)

Sharp shooting Pain

A sharp or jabbing tooth pain usually indicates that a tooth filling is loose or a crown has fallen off. In other cases, the pain could also be due to a tooth fracture, decay, or wear where the enamel of a tooth may have cracked.

Severe, Throbbing Pain

Severe throbbing pain is often a sign of the emergency dental condition, which may often be associated with other symptoms like discolored gums, bleeding gums, or a bad taste in the mouth. Some of the conditions, in this case, may include traumatic injury, exaggeration of an underlying tooth abscess, oral infection.

How can you deal with your tooth pain?

Some of the treatment modalities for curing tooth pain may include –

  • To treat dull aching pain, regular flossing and rinsing your mouth can remove food that may have been lodged in the teeth or gums. For people with bruxism, it is best to talk to your dentist about a mouthguard. An abscessed tooth needs to be addressed immediately with root canal therapy.
  • Usually, tooth sensitivity can be caused by several reasons – If the pain is mild, it is most likely due to worn down enamel. For this, this patient can use a specialized toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Moreover, it is best to avoid extremely hot or cold foods for a week. Severe tooth sensitivity can often indicate a routine examination to rule out tooth decay or gum disease. (4)

Tooth decay is treated by restorative therapy or root canal treatment depending on the extent of the damage. Gum diseases can be treated by scaling, root planing, and continuous monitoring of the condition.

  • Emergency dental care usually includes the treatment of traumatic injury to the soft tissue or tooth. In the case of the knocked-out tooth, the tooth can be reimplanted, splinted, and observed while heals.

A severe tooth abscess may be treated by root canal therapy or tooth extraction. Moreover, periodontal treatment may be initiated to take care of the bleeding gums.

Take away message

Tooth pain is an uncomfortable experience that no patient wants to experience ever in their life. Tooth pain can occur due to several reasons such as tooth decay, gum disease, tooth fracture, wisdom tooth pain, oral infection, and traumatic injury.

The characteristic of the pain can evaluate each cause. Some of the common types of tooth pain include dull aching, sharpshooting, severe, and throbbing. Some of the professional treatments like tooth filling, root canal therapy, and tooth extraction may help to treat the underlying cause and relief pain.


It is best to consult a dentist and get a proper diagnosis to have a comfortable pain free experience.


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