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Tooth Pain Explained

Common Causes For Tooth Pain

A toothache is never fun.  For some people, it can be scary when you don't know what is causing it. A toothache is described as any pain, soreness, or ache in or around a tooth. The tooth may be sensitive to hot or cold, cause pain when chewing or biting, sensitive to certain foods, or it may even have a sharp pain. Many people who experience tooth pain or a toothache will not seek treatment until the pain becomes unbearable. At Braselton Smile Studio, we encourage you to contact us right away if you feel you're experiencing any of the signs and symptoms discussed below.

Diagnosing a Toothache

Dr.Workman has several methods that she will use to determine the cause of tooth pain.


  1. She will ask you several questions regarding the types of symptoms you are having. Is it sensitive to cold or heat? Does it hurt to eat? Has it kept you up in the middle of the night? Has it disrupted your daily routine? These questions will help her to determine the possible causes of your discomfort.

  2. Dr.Workman may also want to take an X-ray of the tooth causing you problems to check for abscesses, cavities, or any other potential hidden problems. These tests can sometimes be helpful in diagnosing a toothache.
  3. Dr. Workman may also utilize a biting pressure test, using a “biting stick” or cotton tip applicator may be used to determine what area of the tooth is causing the pain.
  4. Additionally, a cold air test may be used too. It uses a gentle stream of cold air blown directly on the different areas of the tooth to figure out the precise location the sensitivity is coming from.

Once Dr.Workman has diagnosed the cause of your toothache, she will explain to you what is involved in fixing the problem. It's also possible that she may prescribe medication to help with improving the symptoms.

The Most Common Causes of Toothaches

Among all the things that might cause a toothache or tooth pain, the most common is usually:

Sometimes the problem may not be related to your dental health at all. Let's look at each of these individually.

Tooth Decay

When plaque sticks to the tooth enamel, it feeds on the sugars and starches from food particles left in your mouth. Over time, this produces an acid solution that eats away at the enamel, which will usually cause holes to form. As the decay spreads inward toward the middle layer of the tooth (dentin), it may create sensitivity to temperature and touch.

Inflammation of the Tooth Pulp

Also called pulpitis, this condition means that the tissue in the center of the tooth (nerve/tooth pulp) has become inflamed and irritated. This inflammation can cause pressure to build inside the tooth.

Symptoms of an inflamed tooth pulp can vary from mild to extreme, depending on the severity of the inflammation. If not treated, the pain will only worsen with time.


A dental abscess is caused by the buildup of bacteria inside the pulp chamber that becomes infected. This infection then tries to drain itself out of the very tip of the tooth root.

The pressure from the draining infection causes a pain that can become severe with swelling if left untreated. Most abscesses can be seen visually on a dental X-ray. Sometimes this may develop into a one needing to see an emergency dentist.

Cracked or Broken Tooth

Your teeth can be broken down and weakened over time due to pressure from

The force from biting down on a hard object like ice or a popcorn kernel can sometimes cause a tooth to crack.

Symptoms of a cracked tooth may include

  1. tooth pain when biting or chewing
  2. It may also be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures
  3. Discomfort when consuming sweet and sour foods.

Dr. Workman's treatment recommendation for this condition will depend on the location and direction of the crack as well as the extent of the damage. This could require numerous treatment options including tooth extraction.

In summary, if you think you're experiencing a toothache, tooth pain, or a cracked tooth - please contact us at Braselton Smile Studio right away so we can get you feeling better. It is best to not ignore any of these symptoms because they could become a dental emergency. 

Dr. Oluyemi Workman Dr. Oluyemi Workman is the owner and founder of Braselton Smile Studio in Braselton Georgia. Her mission for Braselton Smile Studio is simple - treat her patients like family and provide a wonderful dental experience for her patients.

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