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Tooth sensitivity and pain are common dental problems that affect many people. It causes sharp pains in the teeth. Here are the common causes of toothache. 

Temperature sensitivity

Sensitive teeth are often caused by temperature sensitivity. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause a sharp pain to radiate from the tooth into the jaw and gums. This pain might be dull at first but becomes sharper over time. This type of pain is often caused by enamel loss that exposes the sensitive layer of the tooth. Enamel can be lost through acidic foods and drinks, brushing too harshly, gum recession, grinding teeth at night, or acid reflux. If you have any pain or discomfort associated with temperature sensitivity, visit your doctor.

Gum recession

Your gums will naturally recede and expose your tooth roots if you brush too aggressively. While these issues aren’t usually painful, they can lead to tooth decay if left untreated. The best way to treat gum recession is to practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush for two minutes twice a day. Flossing daily can also help dislodge food debris and bacteria from between the teeth and under the gum line. You may also want to consider using an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill harmful bacteria in your mouth and prevent it from breeding.

If your gums are receding because of bruxism (teeth grinding) or TMJ disorder, you’ll need to visit your dentist to discuss your treatment options. 


Erosion is the loss of dental enamel due to acid in the mouth. This can happen from frequent vomiting or acid reflux, which can erode the enamel on teeth over time. Additionally, taking certain medications can also contribute to erosion. Drinking acidic beverages like soda or juice can lead to erosion as well. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact us as soon as possible so we can determine the best treatment option for you!


Even a small cavity can cause sudden tooth pain. That’s because as the decay spreads inside the tooth and reaches the nerves, the pain can be more severe than it would have been otherwise. Your dentist can treat the cavity and restore your tooth using composite fillings, inlays/onlays, or a dental crown, depending on the size and location of the cavity. If you are feeling any sudden tooth pain, give us a call as soon as possible so we can help!

Gum infection

If you’re experiencing sudden tooth pain, it’s possible that the cause is a gum infection—an inflammation of the tissues surrounding a tooth due to the presence of bacterial plaque and tartar buildup. Also called periodontal disease, this serious condition can lead to tooth loss and jawbone deterioration if left untreated.

At the first sign of pain or discomfort, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to rule out the possibility of an infection. 

Cracked tooth or crown

If your pain is suddenly occurring after a fall or other trauma to the mouth, it’s possible you have cracked your tooth. Sometimes these cracks can be too small to see with the naked eye and can only be detected during an X-ray. Usually, the pain from these cracks comes from a sensitivity to temperature change or a lingering ache in the fractured tooth. Early treatment is key to saving the tooth and protecting your oral health. If the damage is too severe, your endodontist may recommend removal and replacement with a dental implant immediately to avoid further damage from abscessed tissue inside the tooth.

If you have any symptoms of a broken tooth, call your dentist right away for a thorough evaluation and treatment recommendation.

Sinus infection

If your sinus passages are congested and infected, there’s a good chance that the pressure and pain are being transferred to your teeth. If the pain is only happening when you eat something hot or cold, then that’s another indication of sinus-related tooth pain. This is because when you’re suffering from congestion, the mucus is thick and sticky, which can trap heat and cold near the sinuses. This trapped heat is transferred to the teeth and eventually causes pain in a very short time period. A common treatment used to address this type of case is nasal irrigation with salt water, which helps relieve pressure and clear airways so that the mouth can once again be comfortable.

Jaw clenching

Grinding your teeth can take a toll on your oral health and cause pain in your jaw joint, otherwise known as the TMJ. That’s why it’s common for people to have pain near their ears when they clench their teeth. If you notice that your mouth hurts when you wake up or grind your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about it. You may need a night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

To find out more about the dental services offered at Madison Park Dental, call (208) 356-5601 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 345 N. 2ND E., Suite 2, Rexburg, ID 83440.

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