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Sudden Tooth Pain? Here Are The Major Causes

Posted by Truxel Dental Apr 30, 2023

This is a thumbnail image of blog Sudden Tooth Pain? Here Are The Major Causes

Tooth pain can occur for any number of reasons. Sometimes, the pain is only temporary and will go away on its own. But other times, tooth pain is the sign of a bigger problem. Here are some causes of sudden tooth pain.

Temperature sensitivity

Sensitivity to cold foods and drinks is often a sign of temperature sensitivity. The root surface of your enamel is porous and is sensitive to temperature changes. When exposed to something too hot or too cold, the nerves of the tooth will become irritated. Over time the pulp tissues of the tooth can become inflamed, leading to tooth pain.

To combat this sensitivity, avoid eating or drinking anything that is too hot or too cold. Wear a custom mouth guard at night to protect your teeth from nighttime grinding, which can also cause irritation to the nerve of your tooth and lead to tooth sensitivity. Prevent cavities with preventative care and stop sensitivity in its tracks! 

Gum Recession

When you bite down, your teeth and gums must come into contact. If your gums are receding, they expose your tooth roots which are sensitive to heat and cold, as well as air and food particles. This can cause sudden and sometimes severe tooth pain if the root of your tooth is exposed.

A gum graft is a surgical procedure designed to help treat gum recession. During this procedure, tissue is removed from the roof of your mouth and grafted over your teeth to cover the exposed root and restore a healthy gum line.


When the hard enamel coating of a tooth wears away, the softer dentin underneath becomes exposed and is more susceptible to decay. This can happen due to heavy grinding of the teeth, acid reflux disease, tooth decay, dry mouth, gum disease, malocclusion, or bulimia. Teeth that are especially susceptible to erosion include those that naturally have thin layers of enamel, such as the upper incisors and canines. Oftentimes, people will develop sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures when one or more teeth are eroded and sensitive. Fortunately, there are treatments available to address sensitivity and repair damaged teeth.


A cavity is a hole in your tooth that is caused by decay. Cavities are one of the most common reasons people visit the dentist and are usually a result of poor oral hygiene habits, such as not brushing your teeth regularly or skipping out on flossing. Having cavities filled can help protect your enamel from further decay and prevent you from needing any additional procedures in the future.


Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums – the tissues that surround and support your teeth. This oral disease causes the gum tissue to become red and swollen, leading to bleeding when brushing teeth. The symptoms of gingivitis include gums that are tender, swollen, shiny, and often bleed easily during brushing. Some patients experience chronic bad breath from swollen, infected gums.

Patients with gingivitis often do not notice symptoms until the disease has progressed. This is because gingivitis develops so slowly that most people have very mild symptoms that are not even noticeable until they become severe.

Once gum disease has progressed past gingivitis, it is referred to as periodontitis. Patients who suffer from periodontitis may also experience receding gums, loose teeth, shifting of teeth, pain in a tooth that doesn’t subside, and persistent bad breath. Patients who have any of these symptoms should schedule an appointment with their dentist as soon as possible for a diagnosis.

Cracked Tooth or Crown

If your tooth feels sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, you may be experiencing a crack or a cavity in your tooth. A crack can make it painful to bite down or chew. In any case, it’s worth finding an emergency dentist as soon as possible.

Sinus Infection

If your toothache comes on suddenly and is accompanied by redness in your cheeks or a stuffy nose, you might have a sinus infection. Your sinuses are air-filled cavities in the bones in your upper jaw that are connected to your nasal passages by narrow tubes. When these passageways become blocked with mucus, it can lead to an infection.

A sinus infection can cause pressure and pain in the upper teeth because the sinus cavity is located right above the upper molars. This pain will ease once the infected mucus drains from the sinus cavity. You can relieve the pain in the meantime with over-the-counter pain relievers. However, if the pain and discomfort don’t go away after a few days, you should see a dentist to be evaluated for a possible root canal treatment or tooth extraction.

To learn more, visit Truxel Dental at 3880 Truxel Rd Suite #600, Sacramento, CA 95834, or call (916) 333-2700 to schedule an appointment.

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