If you’re experiencing a toothache, you’re not alone. Toothaches are a common dental problem caused by various factors, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or a cracked tooth. However, not all toothaches are the same; some can be more serious than others. So, if the question ‘How do I know if my toothache is serious’ baffles you, you are not alone.

Recognizing the signs of unbearable tooth pain is essential to prevent more severe dental issues. In this guide, we’ll explore the signs and symptoms that indicate a toothache may be more severe than a minor problem and when you should seek professional dental care.

What is a Toothache?

According to WebMD, a toothache is a painful sensation in or around a tooth caused by dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, infection, or injury. Toothaches can vary in intensity from mild to severe and may radiate to the jaw, ear, or neck. Toothaches are more common in adults and can be caused by poor dental hygiene, a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, and certain medical conditions.

Type of Toothaches

Toothaches can have various types and causes, and understanding the different types can help determine how do I know if my toothache is serious and then the appropriate treatment.

Sensitivity to Hot or Cold

This type of toothache occurs when teeth are sensitive to temperature changes, particularly hot or cold. Tooth decay, worn fillings, or gum disease may cause it.

Throbbing Pain

A throbbing pain is usually a sign of an abscessed tooth, which occurs when the pulp inside the tooth becomes infected. The pain may be accompanied by swelling and fever.

Sharp Pain When Biting

This type of pain occurs when you bite down and release the pressure. It may be caused by a cracked tooth, which can expose the nerve and cause pain.

Dull Pain and Pressure

Dull pain and pressure can be a sign of a sinus infection, as the sinuses are close to the roots of the upper teeth.

Constant Pain

Constant pain can indicate a severe dental problem, such as gum disease, an abscessed tooth, or a cracked tooth.

What are the Causes of Toothache?

Toothache Causes female have toothache

Toothaches can be caused by various dental issues, including:

Tooth Decay

It’s the most common cause of toothaches. When plaque builds up on teeth, it can cause decay, leading to cavities and toothaches.

Gum Disease

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by bacteria that infect the gums and bones supporting the teeth. Gum disease can cause toothaches and even tooth loss if left untreated.

Dental Abscess

In dental abscess, a pus-filled sac forms around a tooth or in the gum due to an infection. That can lead to intense pain, swelling, and fever.

Tooth Injury

A tooth injury, such as a crack or fracture, can cause toothache. The pain may be immediate or develop over time.

Teeth Grinding

Grinding or clenching teeth can cause tooth pain, mainly if it results in enamel erosion or tooth fractures.

Sinus Infection

A sinus infection can cause pain in the upper teeth.

Wisdom Teeth

The eruption of wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort, especially if they become impacted or infected.

How Do I Know If My Toothache Is Serious | Clear Signs to Look Out For

beautiful woman suffering from toothache

Toothaches can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, and it can be difficult to determine when a toothache requires urgent attention from a dentist. Here are some signs that’ll help you determine if your toothache is serious or not:

Severe Pain

If your toothache is causing intense pain, it may be a sign of a serious issue like an abscess or severe decay.


Swelling in the gums or face near the affected tooth can indicate an infection that needs immediate attention.

Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss near the affected tooth, it may be a sign of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

Bad Taste or Smell

A foul taste or odor in your mouth can indicate an infection, such as an abscess, that requires treatment.


A fever can signify a severe infection that has spread beyond the affected tooth and requires prompt attention.

Pain When Biting Down

Pain when biting down can indicate a cracked tooth or other issues that need immediate attention.

When Should You Seek Professional Help for Toothache

Toothache Symptoms man complaining about toothache

Various dental issues can cause tooth pain, and it’s important to seek professional dental care if you experience severe or persistent pain. You should see a dentist when you determine that your toothache is serious and when it doesn’t go away with over-the-counter medication.

Other signs that you should seek professional dental care include difficulty breathing or swallowing, a high fever, or trauma to the mouth resulting in severe pain or a broken tooth. It’s crucial to address a toothache promptly to prevent it from becoming more severe and potentially causing further dental problems.

A dentist can diagnose the cause of the toothache and provide appropriate treatment to relieve the pain and prevent further dental issues.

When You Should Consult the ER for Toothache

Knowing when you should consult the ER for a toothache is important. The below-mentioned symptoms can be an indication that you should consult ER for your toothache:

Ignoring unbearable tooth pain can lead to complications and require costly treatment. So, ensure to seek emergency dental care if you experience these symptoms immediately.

Home Remedies for Toothache Pain Relief

Several home remedies may provide temporary relief from toothache pain. These include;

However, it’s important to note that these remedies are not a substitute for professional dental care and should only be used temporarily until you can see a dentist.

Trust Osseo Family Dental For Toothache Relief!

If you’re suffering from unbearable tooth pain and painkillers aren’t working for your toothache, ignoring it might be hazardous for oral health. Book an appointment with the dentists of Osseo Family Dental by calling us at 7634252626 or writing us @info@osseofamilydental.com. We’re comfortably located at 30 Central Ave, Osseo, MN, 55369.