Why Are My Teeth Hurting?

As anyone who has ever had a toothache knows, the sooner the pain can be alleviated, the better. Pain in your teeth is never normal and can be a warning that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. If your teeth are bothering you, it might be time to schedule an appointment to see your dentist.

Dr. William Harper, a respected dentist of Poquoson, VA would like to explain a few of the most common reasons for tooth pain.

Cavity Causing Tooth Pain

A cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by bacteria eating the plaque on your teeth and down through the enamel. Millions of bacteria live in our mouths and are usually harmless to us but if you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque can form when food particles combine with saliva. The oral bacteria present in this process create digestive acids which create weak spots and eventually cavities that cause pain and sensitivity in your teeth. Cavities are easiest to repair when they are still small and catching them at this point can be the difference between saving the tooth and losing it.

Damaged or Lost Filling

Contrary to what many people think, the fillings your dentist puts in cavities are not permanent. Fillings usually fall out after 5-10 years of use. When this happens or a filling is damaged, it may lead to issues with your bite, causing pain and sensitivity. A visit to Dr. Harper or your local dentist can determine what needs to be done to relieve the pain and repair or replace the filling.

Teeth Grinding/Clenching/TMJ

If you often wake up with a sore jaw or notice yourself bearing down on your teeth during the day, you are most likely clenching or grinding your teeth during the night. Dr. Harper can offer solutions that can protect your teeth from excessive wear and tear and the painful headaches, toothaches and jaw pain that can come with a teeth grinding habit or a TMJ disorder.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscess is an infection at the tooth’s roots. They can be extremely painful and antibiotics must be administered and the tooth treated to permanently resolve the issue. Failure to address an abscess can lead to a widespread infection in other parts of the body such as the heart or even the brain.

Wisdom Teeth Coming In

When your wisdom teeth begin to erupt, they can cause a great deal of pain, swelling, and jaw stiffness. Your dentist can determine if these third molars are coming in properly or if they should be removed.


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

Temperature Sensitivity

The under-layer of the tooth enamel — the dentin — can be exposed due to cavities or cracks in your outer tooth enamel or the recession of your gum tissue, often due to gum disease. When this happens, your teeth can become sensitive to either hot or cold temperatures, or both.

Orthodontic Treatment

When you have your braces adjusted, you are expected to feel some level of tooth pain. This is normal and using an over-the-counter pain medicine, or if the issue is caused by the hardware itself, a little ball of dental wax should do the trick.

Teeth Whitening

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

Relieve Tooth Pain in Newport News, VA

Most dentists have appointments available for dental emergencies. No matter what the reason, we know that tooth pain can be miserable, so stop asking, “Why do my teeth hurt?” and schedule an appointment online with a Dr. Harper or your area dentist, or call our scheduling specialist on 757.414.7227.