Fox Dental | Dentist in Lemoyne, New Cumberland and Camp Hill

tooth pain

Why is my toothache so painful?

Toothaches can be very painful. Often times tooth decay is the culprit but there are many other possibilities for your tooth pain.

Tooth decay may lead to cavities if you don’t receive treatment. Cavities occur when acids and bacteria break through the enamel and eat away at the delicate tissues inside the tooth. This can expose the nerve, causing mild-to-severe pain.

What are possible causes:

  • Tooth decay
  • Abscessed tooth (a bacterial infection inside the center of the tooth)
  • Broken tooth
  • Cavity
  • A damaged filling
  • Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding or clenching teeth
  • Infected gums
  • Eruption (teeth coming out of the gums) or removal of a tooth (for example, wisdom teeth)


Following good oral hygiene practices can prevent toothaches. Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, flossing once daily, rinsing once or twice a day with an antiseptic mouthwash, and seeing your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning. In addition to these practices, eat foods low in sugar and ask your dentist about sealants and fluoride applications.


Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, if necessary. A root canal might be needed if the cause of the toothache is determined to be an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner aspects of the tooth cause such an infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is fever or swelling of the jaw. 

Remember that twice-yearly visits to the dentist are beneficial in preventing oral health issues from forming in the future, so schedule your appointment at Fox Dental now.