Toothache is the pain of the tooth or teeth. It is normally very severe and can result in sleepless nights.

However, a toothache is worse at night because when you lie down the pressure of blood pumping to your head where your teeth are increases due to gravity. Though toothache comes in the pulse of excruciating pain, the severity of the ache depends on the nearness of the insult to the pulp of the tooth and the degree of infection of the pulp.

Moreover, a toothache is more on the molars and premolars ( back teeth ) because they are bigger and have rougher surfaces.

Furthermore, there are a couple of things you can do to relieve a toothache; raise your head above your chest level, rinse your mouth with warm saline solution, take painkillers with food, ensure the affected tooth is clean of food debris and visit your dentist for further examinations and treatment.

Symptoms of toothache

The primary symptom of toothache is pain which ultimately may lead to the following;

  • Diminished ability to chew.
  • Referred pain in the ear, eye, throat and head.
  • Spontaneous, intermittent or constant pain curtailed only by pain reliever
  • Tooth extrusion
  • Inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep.
  • Headache and fever.

When to see a dentist

Visit the dentist when the toothache is Spontaneous and affects your routine activities like chewing, brushing your teeth and falling asleep.

Causes of toothache

The following can induce a toothache;

  • Tooth decay
  • Cracked tooth
  • Impacted Tooth
  • Tooth fracture
  • Pulp necrosis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Pulp polyp
  • Pericoronitis
  • Ill-fitted dental restoration like crowns and fillings
  • Tooth extraction
  • Fixed orthodontic appliance

Role of the tooth in preventing injury

The tooth has an extraordinary ability to protect itself from an injury that could provoke aches like sealing off the portion of its pulp close to the injury, giving feedback to the brain via proprioception whenever a heavy load of chewing or cracking is placed on the tooth.

However, the innate defence of the tooth can be overridden when an injury is abrupt and of a higher impact.

Risk factors

  • Dental caries
  • Worn-out dental restoration
  • Using your teeth as a tool
  • Heavy chewing of bones
  • Partially erupted tooth
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Ill-fitted dental restoration
  • Bruxism, gnashing of teeth


Though toothache is difficult to ignore some individuals have a very high pain threshold therefore the toothache can deteriorate into;

  • Dental abscess
  • Dentoalveolar abscess
  • Dental cyst
  • Tooth loss
  • Ludwig angina
  • Facial space infection
  • Pulp necrosis
  • Pulp polyp
  • Osteomyelitis of the jaws


  • Brushing your teeth twice daily.
  • Use fluoride-containing toothpaste.
  • Deter using your teeth as a tool.
  • Do a regular dental check-up.

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