What's Causing My Toothache? Do I Need to See a Dentist? By Byron J Nordhus D.D.S. on February 16, 2024

individual suffering from a toothacheA toothache is not a pleasant experience. Dental pain can cause significant discomfort and may limit or compromise oral functions. People regularly ignore a toothache because they either fear going to the dentist, don’t think it necessitates professional dental care, or believe the pain will go away on its own.

Several potential factors can cause a toothache, many of which require dental care. Dr. Byron Nordhus, whose Wichita dental office serves individuals from Wichita, KS, West Wichita, KS, and surrounding areas, discusses common toothache causes and how to know if you should see a dentist.

What Causes a Toothache?

There are many potential causes of a toothache. Sometimes dental pain is minor and short-lived and may be related to biting down on a hard object or consuming a hot or cold beverage. More often, a toothache is a symptom of a more complex dental problem, such as tooth decay, infection, or a broken dental restoration.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the most common oral health problem and one of the leading causes of dental pain. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria build up around a tooth and cause the formation of plaque or tartar. Plaque and tartar attack tooth enamel, causing damage that weakens the tooth’s outer layer and exposes its more sensitive inner layers, thus causing increased sensitivity and dental pain. Moderate to large areas of decay are more commonly called cavities.

Dental Infection

Untreated tooth decay can lead to a dental infection. Tooth decay creates openings in the tooth enamel that allow bacteria to reach the tooth’s pulp, where the nerves and tissues reside. When bacteria reach the inner tooth, nerves and tissues become inflamed, resulting in a root canal infection. Sensitive nerves and tissues are more susceptible to pain when they are inflamed. A dental infection can also cause inflammation of the gum tissues and lead to pus-filled sacs (cysts) that may increase oral discomfort and make it painful to bite and chew.

Broken Dental Restoration

Dental restorations like fillings and crowns repair dental damage to restore the strength and integrity of the tooth. Dental restorations protect the inner layers of the tooth. Dental restorations are made of durable materials that can withstand the wear and tear of biting and chewing, but they eventually wear out or become damaged. Broken dental restorations expose the sensitive inner layers of the tooth and can cause a toothache.

Do I Need To See a Dentist?

Any toothache or oral pain that is severe or that lasts more than one to two days should be seen by a dentist. An experienced dentist, such as Dr. Nordhus, can examine the affected tooth and surrounding oral tissues to determine the cause of the toothache. Based on what is causing the pain, Dr. Nordhus can create a customized treatment plan, which may include a filling, dental crown, root canal therapy, or other restorative dentistry treatment.

Send Us a Message

Toothaches are often the result of underlying dental complications that require professional dental treatment. If you are suffering from oral pain, Dr. Byron Nordhus can diagnose the cause of the toothache and recommend an effective treatment plan. To get started, send our Wichita office a message and schedule an appointment.

Related to This

​Dr. Byron J. Nordhus

Nordhus Dentistry

Dr. Byron J. Nordhus strives to provide the highest level of comprehensive dental care at his Wichita, KS, practice, while treating his patients like family. He uses advanced materials, treatments, and technology to make dental procedures as effective and painless as possible. Affiliations include:

  • Academy of Laser Dentistry
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • American Dental Association 

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (316) 721-6730.

Message Our Team

"Dr. Nordhus and the whole team are simply amazing. Humble, professional, and always a delight to work with. Highly recommend."

Rate, Review & Explore

Social Accounts Sprite