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August 4, 2014

Toothaches - what are they? Nobody likes them: they hurt, they may worry you, and they don't always go away on their own. But what is a toothache and what do I do about it? A toothache is a pain on or around the tooth that could be caused by a variety of different reasons:

  • a cavity
  • gum disease
  • a cracked tooth
  • an exposed root
  • jaw pain

In some cases, the pain is not actually in your tooth, but in your sinuses instead, but if it is one of your lower teeth, that's unlikely. Let's be clear that we are talking about toothaches and not sensitive teeth or some emergency like a broken tooth or other accident.

What can you do about a toothache? And how do you know whether or not it's bad enough to visit the dentist? According to WebMD, see a dentist as soon as possible if any of the following conditions exist:

  • You have a toothache that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days
  • Your toothache is severe
  • You have a fever, earache, or pain upon opening your mouth wide

A toothache could be a sign of an infection in the mouth that could spread to the rest of your body, causing serious health issues. It's best to get it checked out by a dentist who can do an x-ray and other tests to check for infections.


Treatments for toothaches depend on the cause of the toothache so let's go through each one:

  • a cavity - the cavity would have to be removed and replaced with a filling
  • gum disease - the gums would have to be treated for infection
  • a cracked tooth - the crack in the tooth would need to be sealed after first checking for cavities and infection; in some cases a root canal may be necessary
  • an exposed root - gum treatments may help with this - check with your dentist
  • jaw pain - if due to infection, then the infection would be treated; if due to TMJ, then the TMJ would be treated


Most toothaches are caused by tooth decay so practicing proper oral hygiene (ie. brushing, flossing, and regularly seeing the dentist) will go a long way in preventing toothaches. Some people are prone to cavities, but by limiting the amount of sugary foods and drinks you eat usually help prevent cavities and their associated toothaches. Exposed roots can happen from heavy brushing and jaw pain could be from many different issues.


Dr. Reese is an Indianapolis dentist that understands how bad toothaches can hurt. He's helped people just like you get out of the pain and discomfort that a cavity, cracked tooth, or jaw pain can cause by offering biocompatible fillings, root canals, crowns, and TMJ treatment right here in Indianapolis. If you're looking for a dentist who is holistically-minded like you, give Dr. Reese a call at 317-882-0228 to setup a consultation.