Tooth pain can come in various forms, ranging from minor discomfort to severe, debilitating agony. Regardless of the degree, tooth pain can disrupt your daily routine, affect your mood and productivity, and lower your quality of life. If you are experiencing severe tooth pain, it is essential to understand its causes, seek proper diagnosis and treatment, and take preventive measures to avoid future occurrences. 


Causes of Severe Tooth Pain 


Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the most common cause of tooth pain. It occurs when bacteria in your mouth produce acid that eats away at your tooth enamel, leading to cavities, which can then cause pain. If left untreated, tooth decay can progress to the point where it affects the dental pulp or nerve, leading to severe tooth pain. Some symptoms of tooth decay include sensitivity to hot and cold, mild or occasional pain, visible holes or pits in your teeth, and bad breath. Treatment for tooth decay usually involves filling the cavity to prevent further damage to the tooth. 


Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is a bacterial infection affecting your gum tissue, leading to tooth pain, bleeding, and eventual loss. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on your teeth, which can then cause inflammation and bacterial infection. Some of the symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen, and bleeding gums, bad breath, and loose teeth. Treatment for gum disease can range from deep cleaning to surgery, depending on the severity of the infection. 


discomfort dental symptoms southportTooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms in or around your tooth, usually due to bacterial infection. This can cause severe tooth pain, sensitivity to hot and cold, and swollen or red gums.

A tooth abscess requires immediate attention from a dentist, which can lead to serious complications if left untreated.

Treatment for a tooth abscess usually involves drainage of the pus, antibiotics, and sometimes a root canal procedure. 


Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth can cause severe tooth pain, especially if it exposes the pulp or nerve of your tooth. Some of the symptoms of a cracked tooth include sharp pain when biting or chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold, and occasional pain. Treatment for a cracked tooth can vary from filling the crack to a root canal procedure, depending on the extent of the damage. 


Sinus Infection

A sinus infection can cause tooth pain, especially in the upper teeth, as the sinuses are located close to the roots of your upper teeth. Some sinus infection symptoms include facial pain, nasal congestion, and pressure around your eyes and forehead. Treatment for a sinus infection usually involves antibiotics, decongestants, and pain relievers. 


Symptoms of Severe Tooth Pain 


Sharp or Throbbing Pain

Severe tooth pain can manifest as a sharp or throbbing sensation around the affected tooth or teeth. This pain may be constant or come and go, but it’s usually intense and difficult to ignore. Sharp pain is often an indicator of tooth decay or a dental abscess, which requires prompt treatment to prevent the infection from spreading. The sudden and severe pain may also be a sign of a cracked or broken tooth, which can cause nerve damage and lead to infection. 


Pain When Biting or Chewing

Another telltale sign of severe tooth pain is discomfort when you bite or chew food. You may notice that your tooth hurts when it makes contact with certain types of food, such as hot or cold beverages or sweet treats. Pain while chewing can be caused by dental decay, gum disease, or a tooth fracture, which can weaken the tooth’s structure and lead to nerve damage. If you experience sharp pain while eating or drinking, seeing a dentist immediately is best. 


Swelling or Sensitivity around the Affected Tooth

Severe tooth pain can also cause swelling or sensitivity around the affected tooth. This can include redness or inflammation around the gums, a sore or tender jaw, or pain and discomfort when applying pressure to the tooth. Swelling or sensitivity is often a sign of a bacterial infection or an abscess, which requires immediate treatment to prevent the infection from spreading further. It’s important to note that even if the swelling or sensitivity isn’t painful, it still requires professional dental attention. 


Headaches or Fever

In some cases, severe tooth pain can also cause headaches or fever. This is because dental problems and infections can cause inflammation, which may lead to symptoms such as headaches, fever, or fatigue. If you’re experiencing tooth pain and other symptoms, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is important. This can help identify what’s causing the problem and prevent it from worsening. 



Treatment Options for Severe Tooth Pain 


Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

Over-the-counter pain medication is often the first line of defence against tooth pain. These medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help reduce inflammation and relieve mild to moderate discomfort. However, over-the-counter medication may not be enough if you’re experiencing severe tooth pain. In this case, seeing a dentist who can prescribe stronger pain medication to help manage your symptoms is best. 


Prescription Medication From a Dentist

Prescription medication from a dentist may include stronger pain medication or antibiotics if tooth pain results from an infected tooth or bacterial infection. These medications can help alleviate your pain and address the underlying issue causing your discomfort. Following your dentist’s instructions when taking these medications is important to ensure you benefit the most. 


hurting teeth causes southportRoot Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy may be necessary if your severe tooth pain results from damage or decay to the dental pulp.

During a root canal procedure, the infected or damaged tissue is removed from the inside of the tooth, and the area is cleaned and sealed.

While many fear root canals, they’re often the best way to save a damaged or decayed tooth and alleviate severe pain. 


Extraction of the Affected Tooth

Extraction of the affected tooth may be necessary if it’s beyond repair or is causing severe pain that cannot be managed effectively with other treatments. While losing a tooth is never ideal, in some cases, extraction may be the best way to protect your oral health and alleviate your pain. Your dentist can discuss the pros and cons of extraction with you and help you decide if it’s the best option. 


Prevention Tips to Avoid Severe Tooth Pain 


Brushing and Flossing Regularly

The first and most essential prevention tip is brushing and flossing regularly. Brushing your teeth twice daily helps remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing your teeth once a day helps to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth, which a toothbrush cannot reach. Regular brushing and flossing can prevent dental problems leading to severe tooth pain. 


Using Fluoride Toothpaste and Mouthwash

The second prevention tip is to use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to strengthen your teeth and prevent dental cavities—using fluoride toothpaste twice a day and fluoride mouthwash once a day can help to reduce your chances of developing tooth decay and other dental problems that can lead to severe tooth pain. 


Regular Dental Check-ups and Cleanings

The third prevention tip is regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Visiting your dentist regularly can help identify dental problems early before progressing to severe tooth pain. During your dental visit, your dentist will check for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems. They will also perform a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup that can cause tooth pain. 


prevention tips treatment options dentist pain southportAvoiding Sugary and Acidic Foods and Drinks

The fourth prevention tip is avoiding sugary and acidic foods and drinks.

Sugary and acidic foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Consuming these foods and drinks in moderation and practising good oral hygiene can help to prevent dental problems that can lead to severe tooth pain. 


Knowing When To See A Dentist

The fifth and final prevention tip is knowing when to see a dentist. If you are experiencing mild toothache relief, it is recommended that you practise good oral hygiene and wait for the pain to subside. However, if you are experiencing throbbing pain, a broken tooth, or any dental trauma, you must see a dentist immediately. They can diagnose the problem and provide you with tooth pain relief, such as root canal therapy or medication. 



Severe tooth pain can affect your daily life, but there are various causes, treatments, and preventive measures you can take to relieve your pain and improve your oral health. If you are experiencing severe tooth pain, seek prompt diagnosis and treatment from a qualified dentist to avoid complications or irreversible damage. By practising good oral hygiene habits and seeing your dentist regularly, you can prevent future tooth pain and enjoy a healthier and happier smile. Contact our professional dental team at Southport Park Family Dental on (07) 5655 7688 if you suffer from tooth pain.  




Toothache and swelling

Dental problems 



What to Do With A Chipped Tooth? Is It A Dental Emergency?
what to do with a chipped tooth southport

Our teeth are unbelievably strong. In fact, the exterior tooth enamel is almost, if not harder, than steel. Unfortunately, teeth Read more

What Causes Teeth To Decay And How To Prevent It?
what causes teeth to decay southport

What causes teeth to decay? It's a question we're often asked when we inform patients that they need a tooth Read more

Can Broken Teeth Cause Health Problems? What You Need To Know
can broken teeth cause health problems southport

As family dentists, one of the questions we’re often asked is, can broken teeth cause health problems? The simple answer Read more

Tooth Fracture Symptoms — Everything You Need to Know
tooth fracture symptoms southport

A fractured tooth can occur for various reasons, including teeth grinding, trauma, and age. While tooth fracture symptoms can be Read more