Why Do My Teeth Hurt?

The effects of teeth grinding

Anyone who has ever had a toothache knows the sooner it can be relieved, the better. Feeling pain in your teeth is not normal and can be a warning that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. If your teeth are causing you pain, it is always a good idea to see your dentist as soon as possible.

Through a thorough examination, your dentist can help you answer the frustrating question you undoubtedly have, why do my teeth hurt?  It could be one of a number of reasons, but Dr. Sarah Cook of Tarheel Family Dentistry would like to outline for you the most common:

Cavity Causing Tooth Pain

A cavity is simply a hole in your tooth enamel caused by bacteria. This exposes the nerve, creating sensitivity that results in tooth pain. Cavities are easiest to repair when they are still small, allowing the tooth can be saved.

Damaged or Lost Filling

Sometimes a filling can fall out or be damaged, which can cause your bite to become unstable, leading to pain. A visit to Dr. Cook or your local dentist can determine what needs to be done to eliminate the pain.

Teeth Grinding/Clenching/TMJ

If you find yourself bearing down on your teeth during the day, or wake up with a sore jaw, there is a good chance you are clenching or grinding your teeth while sleeping at night. Dr. Cook or your area dentist can offer solutions to help safeguard your teeth from excessive wear and tear, as well as painful headaches, toothaches and jaw pain.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscess is a severe infection at the root of a tooth. It is extremely painful and antibiotics must be prescribed and the tooth treated by a dentist to resolve it. Abscesses can spread to other parts of your body if left untreated.

Wisdom Teeth Coming In

When your wisdom teeth begin to emerge, they can cause a great deal of pain, swelling, and jaw stiffness. Dr. Cook or your local dentist can determine if the teeth are coming in properly or if they need to be removed.


Injury caused by such things as contact sports or an accident can cause any number of issues including a “bruised” or deep discoloring of the tooth, a broken tooth, or total loss of one or more teeth.

Temperature Sensitivity

When the layer under the enamel, called the dentin, is exposed due to cracks in the enamel or the recession of the gums, your teeth may become extra sensitive to either hot or cold temperatures, or both.

Orthodontic Treatment

When you have your braces adjusted, you may experience some level of tooth pain. This is not unusual and using an over-the-counter pain medicine such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, or if the issue is caused by the abrasiveness of the hardware itself, a little ball of dental wax can fix this.

Teeth Whitening

Most people will feel some discomfort after a professional teeth-whitening treatment, but the pain should ease within a day. Talk to your local dentist if it is too painful or problematic.

Relieve Tooth Pain in Chapel Hill, NC

No matter what the reason, Tarheel Family Dentistry knows that tooth pain can be miserable, so quit asking, “Why do my teeth hurt?” and schedule an appointment online with Dr. Cook today, or call our scheduling specialist at (919) 551-8847. He can help you identify the problem and find relief fast.