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11722 Studt Avenue Creve Coeur, MO 63141

April 5, 2020

What Does Your Toothache Mean? 5 Ways to Assess Your Pain

woman holding cup of coffee, experiencing dental painA toothache in itself is not a dental problem. It is a symptom of a dental problem. Depending on the nature and severity of your dental pain in Creve Coeur, you could be suffering from a mild oral health issue or a serious condition that requires emergency care. In this simple guide, we describe a few types of dental discomfort and what each of them might mean.

Sharp, Jabbing Pain

This type of pain is usually intermittent. When you bite down on something cold or when you open your mouth, you might feel a “jabbing” sensation in one or more teeth. This could mean that your tooth is cracked or that you have a cavity that has penetrated to its inner, sensitive layers. In most cases, the damage is mild enough that it is possible to repair the tooth rather than extract it.


Sensitive teeth experience pain when they are exposed to hot or cold temperatures. For example, you might find it uncomfortable to drink hot coffee or enjoy a bowl of ice cream. In some cases, even a cold breeze can irritate sensitive teeth. This issue can be due to a number of different causes, including:

  • Decay
  • Thin tooth enamel
  • Gum recession

Dull Pain

Dull tooth pain is usually mild; you may even be able to ignore it or make it go away with over the counter pain relievers. However, painkillers will not solve the underlying cause of the problem. This type of discomfort could mean that you are unconsciously grinding your teeth while you sleep or that a tooth’s nerve has suffered damage.

Extreme Throbbing

For most types of toothaches, you can safely wait for a few days before you visit your dentist for diagnosis and treatment. However, if your tooth is experiencing severe, throbbing pain, it is likely that you have an infection in its innermost chamber. This is a true dental emergency and requires immediate care. Delaying treatment may lead to worsening pain, a fever, tooth loss, and other serious consequences.

Pain When You Eat

Does your tooth feel normal most of the time but experiences pain when you bite down on something? The problem is likely due to a cavity or dental fracture. Over the counter painkillers can help you manage your discomfort, but you should still contact your dentist to schedule an appointment.

You should never ignore a toothache in the hopes that it will go away on its own. Tooth pain is almost always linked to a significant oral health problem that will only worsen if it does not receive treatment. Your dentist is ready to assess your aching tooth and provide treatment so you can once again enjoy a pain-free smile.

About Our Dentists

Drs. James and Jenna Feigenbaum are a father-daughter pair of dental professionals who serve residents of Creve Coeur and the greater St. Louis area. They are both proud graduates of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. They are able to provide many services and are always ready to help patients find relief from toothaches. To learn more about them and how they can safeguard your oral health, contact our office at 314-567-1777.

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11722 Studt Avenue
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
(314) 567-1777