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What Are The 3 Main Causes of Toothache

Hi, Dr James here, and I’m one of the principal dentists at Elevate Dental.

Yesterday, I was speaking with a new patient Jason from Prahan. He had been having a sore tooth and he asked me, “What’s the cause of my toothache?” We often see patients here at Elevate Dental because of toothache, I thought I’d make a video sharing with you what I shared with him.

A toothache can range in how severe it is from the occasional mild niggle or twinge to constant excruciating pain. While each case is different, there are generally three main causes of toothache.

Nerve Infection

Infections start when enough bacteria builds up to the point where your body can’t clear it by itself. This infection can come from the nerve, which sits deep inside the tooth and occurs when a cavity or dental decay has been left untreated for too long, or a crack in the tooth that has split into the nerve, or there’s been trauma to the tooth, which has crushed and killed the nerve.

Gum Infection

Gum disease affects a large majority of the population and can vary from early mild gingivitis, which is inflamed or puffy gums that bleed to severe chronic gum disease. Now, for most patients, leaving even mild gum disease untreated leads to severe gum disease if left long enough. When the bacteria causing gum disease burrows under the gums, the bone can get permanently eroded away causing teeth to loosen and a gum abscess and infection can start. Once teeth reach this stage, often the only treatment is to extract the tooth.

Clenching or Grinding

Most patients actually clench their teeth, especially at night while some others grind as well. Most people won’t actually be aware that it’s actually happening. However, clenching or grinding puts severe stress on the jaw joints and teeth. This can lead to sore teeth that are otherwise healthy, a tight jaw joint area or tender facial muscles and even headaches and neck aches. This clenching habit often leads to chipped fillings and cracked teeth, and where cracks get severe, can also lead to nerve infections or possibly cause a complete split in the tooth, requiring extraction.

As severe as toothaches can be, the good news is that most, if not all, toothaches can be predicted and prevented by having regular checkups to help reduce the events that cause toothaches in the first place.

I hope you found this video helpful. If you are experiencing a toothache, we would love to look after you. Here at Elevate Dental, we focus on anxious patients. We are conveniently located at both Hawthorn and Richmond with on-site parking. Simply call us on 1300 2 SMILE, complete the form on our website or direct message us on social media and we’ll be in touch to help you organise your consultation. See you in the next video.

Note: All content and media on the Elevate Dental website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.



Services we mentioned:

Emergency Dentistry

Dental Checkups

General Dentistry

James Wong is a wonderful Dentist. The communication and patience through the procedure was first class.

James B


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James Wong is a wonderful Dentist. The communication and patience through the procedure was first class.

James B


What a professional and friendly team at Elevate Dental Richmond. Dr Judith’s infectious smile is matched only by her highly competent dentistry.
Richmond is lucky to have such a caring practice! Thanks guys.

Peter O


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