Types of Tooth Pain

Oral hygiene is essential and an integral part of overall health. The simple way to maintain optimal dental health is by brushing twice daily. 

Plaque is formed on your teeth when you fail to brush regularly and keep them clean, and it can lead to bad breath and a yellowish hue on your teeth.

If plaque is not removed, it forms a hard tartar which is nearly impossible to remove with regular brushing. Therefore, a lack of oral care can cause severe dental problems.

One of the very common causes of dental health problems is toothache and most of the toothaches are treatable

In this article, we will look at the five major types of toothache and what sets them apart.

5 Types of Tooth Pain

There are five primary types of tooth pain that most people undergo. Learning about them can help you identify the type of tooth pain you are experiencing and find effective treatment options for it. The five types of tooth pain are:

1. Sharp tooth pain

Sharp pain can be vigorous and generally arise when your affected tooth touches another tooth or a food item. This kind of pain often leads to an aching or throbbing sensation, and the initial pain varies from person to person.

You might not feel severe pain, but a recurring pain whenever you bite something.

Sharp pain could be a sign of significant damage to your tooth. Sometimes your tooth may be broken, but you cannot see it in the mirror.

You may also feel a chipped or broken part on your tooth when you run your tongue over it. If you experience a sharp pain in a filling tooth or crown, it signals an underlying problem with your restoration.

Even if it occurs for a brief period, this kind of pain requires a visit to the dentist. A damaged tooth can quickly wear away, going from what could have looked like a simple filling might need a dental crown.

A cracked tooth can even worsen or completely break with less pressure than you might think. 

2. Sensitive tooth or tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity occurs suddenly and is chronic. It occurs when you consume something extremely cold or hot food or beverages, and it's a warning sign of a more severe problem.

If you experience tooth sensitivity, even after regular visits to your dentist, then it is caused due to enamel wear. 

Additionally, extreme tooth sensitivity is also a result of serious tooth decay or a damaged tooth exposing the tooth root. 

For minor sensitivity switching to toothpaste with a soothing formula can be helpful. Additionally, avoiding the consumption of cold and hot food and beverages is a great way to avoid pain.

Moreover, acidic foods can cause severe sensitivity by aggravating enamel wear.

3. Extreme tooth pain

If not treated immediately, a throbbing toothache can turn into extreme tooth pain. It can leave you feeling sick, or dizzy. You may even be required to visit an ER for help.

Extreme pain can be caused due to various problems from trauma to the tooth due to an accident to a fragmented tooth exposing the pulp layer and nerves.

You may have developed an abscess (pus) if you also experience painful pressure or observe facial swelling. Oral infections like an abscess are severe conditions.

Call your dentist and make an immediate appointment if you are experiencing uncontrollable pain. If you notice swelling, develop fever, and other symptoms of an infection, visiting an ER is recommended. 

4. A dull ache

This can be described as the typical toothache which leaves a mild yet lingering ache in your tooth. The pain could be mild and feels like a dull ache in a tooth, or many teeth, or below the jaw region.

These types of toothaches can be recurring and might be the result of a bigger dental condition that requires medical attention. 

Therefore it is advisable to visit your dental care provider to identify the exact cause of the condition. A dull ache is simply caused if a piece of food is stuck in your tooth, or it might be a signal that you have tooth decay.

If the dull ache occurs behind your mouth, it might be because of your wisdom teeth growing, or the pain might be a sign of nighttime bruxism.

A dull ache accompanied by a feeling of pressure in your tooth while biting down can also cause abscess (pus) formation.

First, floss thoroughly followed by brushing, to remove any food stuck in your teeth. If the pain is persistent and if you observe a pattern, such as soreness, you must visit your dentist to identify the underlying problem.

5. Throbbing toothache

A throbbing toothache is severe and can be challenging to deal with. You could observe your gum look red or swollen. Throbbing severe tooth pain is a cause for concern.

It may be caused due to a broken tooth or an unidentified gum condition known as periodontitis that extends to your tooth’s roots.

Also, untreated tooth decay can also decrease the tooth enamel severely to the point, of exposing the pulp layer within the tooth.

While OTC (over-the-counter) medication is recommended, you can also use hot or cold compresses to relieve the pain, and remember you should never ignore or underestimate such type of pain. In such cases, visiting your dentist for immediate help is extremely critical. 


It's advisable to visit your dentist for an oral examination if you have tooth pain. Home treatments for toothaches can help you manage your pain and even seem to resolve your issue entirely.

But issues such as untreated tooth decay don't recover on their own, therefore, getting it tested will help avoid any risk. 

We advise using home remedies solely to relieve your soreness until your dental appointment to ensure your oral health doesn't deteriorate.

Approach your dental care provider at the earliest when you experience severe or prolonged pain. 


1. What to avoid during toothache?

Ans: If you are suffering from a toothache, avoid consuming the following food items.

  • Raw vegetables.
  • Citrus fruits.
  • Cold and hot food and beverages
  • Spicy and salty foods
  • Meat.

2. What happens if your tooth is aching?

Ans: Swelling and toothache happen when you have a gum issue which leads to pain and discomfort. If you don't treat it immediately, it might worsen your oral health. Consult your doctor if you have extreme pain in your teeth. 

3. How long can tooth pain last?

Ans:  Toothache can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours or days, as long as 4 to 6 weeks, or even longer in some cases. If your tooth pain lasts for over a month, consider visiting a dentist immediately to avoid any risk of tooth decay.  

4. Why is tooth pain worse at night?

Ans: When you sleep, the blood rushes to the brain more than when you stand, causing pressure on the painful tooth. 

5. Does salt water help toothache?

Ans: Warm water and salt and relieve toothache, as it gently washes away the leftover food particles stuck in your teeth. Using salt water can reduce inflammation, as it acts as a disinfectant.

Read Also:

Oliver Nelson

Oliver Nelson is a New York based Health Specialist Writer who completed his graduation from Syracuse University back in 2015. His writings were published in the top Healthcare brands in the United States.

Leave a Reply

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