Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


5 Reasons You May Be Experiencing Toothaches

More than 40% of adults experience mouth pain annually. Yet toothaches, in particular, may range from mild discomfort to severe, stabbing pain, interrupting individuals’ daily lives. Toothaches may spring from tooth decay, a broken tooth, or wisdom teeth lacking room to grow. To prevent their discomfort from worsening or spreading to other parts of the face, toothache sufferers must visit a dentist. Schedule an appointment with your local oral surgeon to diagnose the root of your pain!

Hillcrest Dental specializes in oral surgery for broken teeth, accidents and trauma, dental implants, and more. We provide the latest in digital x-rays and imaging, laser dentistry, air abrasion, and more for Charlottesville, VA, residents. Also, we prioritize customer satisfaction and want them to enjoy long-lasting results. To schedule an appointment with a certified oral surgeon, call (434) 973-2224.

Below, we discuss 5 reasons you may experience toothaches:

What Is a Toothache?

Toothaches involve any sort of pain in one or more teeth. Caused by anything from food stuck between teeth to tooth decay, toothaches need treatment by a dental professional.

Toothache symptoms include sharp, throbbing, or constant pain, swelling around a tooth, fever or headache, foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth, or a foul odor from the mouth. If you have trouble breathing or swallowing, contact a dentist immediately.

Common Toothache Causes

1. Tooth Decay

Also known as cavities, tooth decay refers to holes in teeth that form when acid erodes their enamel. More than 80% of Americans have at least one cavity by their mid-30s. If left untreated, they can cause toothaches and infections. They can also result in tooth extractions. 

Professional dentistry is required to treat tooth decay because it is a persistent, chronic issue. However, regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups can prevent tooth decay.

2. Abscessed Tooth

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus from an oral bacterial infection. It can appear on and affect teeth, surrounding bones, and gums. There are three types:

  • Gingival: An infection that develops in the gums yet does not affect a tooth or surrounding structures. Like all abscesses, it arises from a bacterial infection due to tooth decay, rough brushing, broken teeth, food stuck in the gum line, or bleeding gums.
  • Periapical: An infection that forms at the tip of the tooth’s root. Bacteria can spread to the inside of a tooth and affect the pulp—the innermost part, which contains nerves and blood vessels—through a fracture or cavity. From there, the bacteria spread to the tip of the tooth’s root and cause bone infection and then an abscess.
  • Periodontal: This infection starts in the bone and tissues that support a tooth and results from periodontitis or gum disease. It’s more common in adults than children.

An untreated bacterial infection can spread to your jawbone, the tissues of your face and neck, and more. A local dentist can provide immediate and professional emergency dental care.

3. Broken Tooth

A broken tooth or tooth fracture could involve a crack appearing in your tooth or a part of your tooth going missing. You might notice pain, sensitivity, and swelling. Depending on the fracture’s location and severity, your dentist has several treatment options.

Teeth consist of two parts: the crown, visible above your gums, and the root, below your gums. Both the crown and the root consist of several layers:

  • Enamel – The hard, white outer surface
  • Dentin – The middle layer of calcified, living tissue
  • Pulp – The softer inner tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves

Tooth fractures can affect some or all of these layers. Moreover, a broken tooth can result in a toothache. Seek treatment as soon as possible to increase the chances of repair.

4. Damaged Filling

If you’ve ever had a dental filling and detected increased tooth sensitivity and pain in the treated tooth—as well as visible cracks, fissures, or shifts in the way the tooth feels—the filling might have damage. Strange as it may seem, a damaged filling can create a toothache.

Fillings suffer damage from hard or sticky foods, using teeth as tools to open items, poor oral hygiene, and bruxism (teeth grinding). A dental filling can last 10 years or more—but you should contact your dentist if you notice one has become damaged.

5. Eruption of Wisdom Teeth

Tooth eruption is the movement of one or more developing teeth from their non-functional position in the alveolar bone to their functional one in the oral cavity. Essentially, it’s the process wherein teeth become visible. This process can result in aches and pain as the new tooth finds its place in your mouth.

Wisdom teeth, in particular, can cause soreness, sensitivity, or aching in the back of the mouth behind the last molar. This scenario results from impacted wisdom teeth—when your wisdom teeth fail to break through the gum line. Have your situation addressed immediately by a professional oral surgeon.

Find a Reliable Oral Surgeon for Your Toothache in Charlottesville, VA

If you’re suffering from a toothache and require immediate help, look no further than Hillcrest Dental. Residents in and around Charlottesville, VA, can turn to our team to help with their toothache, general dental care, and more. Hillcrest provides a comfortable, patient-friendly approach to personalized and modern surgical dentistry. To learn more about our oral surgeon team and extensive services, contact (434) 973-2224 or visit our website for more information.

  • "I am very pleased with how my appointment went yesterday. Everyone was really friendly. They explained everything to me about the procedure and stayed late to assure I was comfortable with the work I had done. Dr Ryan Buckwalter and his assistants were awesome. I highly recommend them for any dental work. Thank you."

    Donnette M.

  • "I was having toothache pain in my lower jaw. I called the next day to make an appointment and was given an appointment time for the very next day. I saw Dr. Ryan, who is knowledgeable, caring and has great people skills with his patients. I made another appointment to come back and have the work done."

    Denise K.

  • “Dr. Buckwalter and his assistant did a wonderful job with our 8 year old today. While they were busy talking teeth, my 3 year old was enjoying his new lip balm and balloon! Finished up with a treat from Starbucks with our gift card. So glad our kiddos don’t fear the dentist. More like they want to keep stopping in."

    Logan D.

  • “Unbelievable experience with Dr. Ryan Buckwalter. Night and Day difference from my last dental experience with another dentist. I no longer fear the dentist!”

    David S.