Toothache Causes, Symptoms, and Triggers

Determine if you have a toothache and understand what may have caused it. Learn toothache symptoms and what might have resulted in your pain.

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Symptoms of Toothaches

Pain in your tooth and mouth is the primary symptom of a toothache, but the type of pain can vary and present itself in multiple ways:
  • Sharp, throbbing, or constant pain
  • Tooth pain that only occurs when pressure is applied
  • Swelling, painful gums 
  • Bad taste in the mouth (from an infection in a tooth)
  • Fever or headache
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Causes of Toothaches

Generally, tooth pain is a result of inflammation of the soft, center part of the tooth. This pain can have several different causes:
  • Cavities (tooth decay)
  • Infection at the root of the tooth
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Damaged fillings
  • Repetitive motions (chewing or grinding)
  • Infected gums
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Toothache Triggers

Some behaviors or foods can start your toothache, or even make it worse. They are known as "triggers" and include:
  • Cold drinks or food
  • Sweet foods
  • Biting down on anything
  • Putting other pressure on the tooth
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