You often hear people share stories about having a bad toothache and that it was the worst pain in their life. I’ve had mums tell me that it was worse than giving birth! Now that’s not something I can easily do a comparison on!

Why can such a small tooth cause so much pain?

The most common cause of the typical toothache is when bacteria spread to the heart of the tooth which contains the nerve fibres and the blood vessels that give life to the tooth. This then causes an infection around the roots of the tooth which causes a lot of pain. If this infection is left untreated (sometimes there is no pain), it can destroy the bone around the tooth, affect your general health and you can even end up with a life threatening infection.

The bulk of the time it is because there has been decay (a cavity) in the tooth for too long. At the start the decay eats through the enamel, then it gets to the next layer, called dentine. Unfortunately, after that all roads lead to the nerve.

Most of the time people have had symptoms on a particular tooth, on and off for a long time. Because it never consistently troubled them, most people don’t do anything about it. Those little symptoms were all hints from the tooth that something is wrong. Then miraculously, the tooth stops hurting completely and they leave it. This is their biggest mistake. When you don’t feel any pain on a tooth like that, it is because the nerve has died and the tooth is just slowly being infected. Best way to describe it would be a ticking time bomb!

Typical symptoms of a bad toothache

  1. Pain to hot drinks/food. Sometimes cold alleviates the pain.
  2. Pain lingers for a while.
  3. It feels like a dull, throbbing pain.
  4. Painkillers aren’t working very well.
  5. Sometimes worse at night or when you exert.
  6. Gives you a headache.
  7. Sometimes there’s an abscess (gum boil) on the gums near the tooth.
  8. Tooth sore to touching/pushing.

If you do end up with an emergency- don’t worry! We have kept aside specific appointments for same-day emergency appointments. So give us a call as soon as you can!