Could You Describe Your Toothache?

describe your toothacheToothaches are the most frequent symptom of dental trouble, but they are also among the most diverse. An aching tooth can be mild or severe, consistent or recurring, sharp or dull, or debilitating enough to interfere with your daily responsibilities. If your tooth hurts, then the sensitivity’s characteristics can hint at its cause, which in turn will help us determine an appropriate treatment plan to relieve the toothache.

Types of Tooth Sensitivity

Temporarily sensitive

If your teeth only ache when you eat or drink something hot or cold, then the issue may not be an emergency, but you should still seek attention from your dentist before it becomes one. Temporary tooth sensitivity could indicate that the enamel around your teeth is weakening, which means tooth decay (the cause of cavities) may not be far behind.

General aching in your teeth

If your dental sensitivity is more of a general feeling throughout more than one tooth, instead of a localized pain in a single tooth, it could mean that you unconsciously grind your teeth—a condition known as bruxism. The excessive pressure and friction from bruxism can wear down your teeth’s chewing surfaces, as well as make your teeth ache and perhaps make your gums and jawbone sensitive.

Sharp, shooting pain from pressure

If a tooth screams with sharp, shooting pain whenever you bite down on it, then the tooth’s nerves may be exposed, meaning the tooth is in immediate danger. At the center of your tooth’s main structure, called dentin, lies the nerves and other soft tissues. If a tooth is cracked, or if severe decay has reached the nerves, then the pain could be severe, and the exposure could leave the tissues exposed to infection from oral bacteria.


Awarded America’s Top Dentist since 2008, Neda Sayyah, DMD, is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), and is certified in the use of dental sedation through the DOCS Education program. Dr. Sayyah is also certified to provide Invisalign® clear braces for teens and adults. To learn more, call our office today at 425-688-0197, or email us at Located in Bellevue, WA, we proudly serve patients from Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Seattle, Mercer Island, and all surrounding communities.