8 Origins of Tooth Pain That Don’t Involve a Cavity
November 11, 2018
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woman laying in bed with tooth pain

Experiencing tooth pain is usually caused by problems within the teeth or jaws. The degree of tooth pain can range from mild to excruciatingly painful depending on the underlying cause. While your initial reaction to a toothache may be to assume you have a cavity, there are also other known origins of tooth pain that do not involve a cavity.


Non-Dental Causes of Tooth Pain

Some causes of tooth pain are not directly related to your teeth. Ruling out more apparent sources of common dental pain through a process of elimination will help you determine whether an emergency trip to your dentist is necessary.


Cluster Headache

One of the causes of migraine headaches is an extended toothache. Our faces contain thousands of nerves and muscles. These transmit senses (such as pain) back and forth between the brain and the nervous system. Almost all headaches and toothaches are detected by one of the largest nerves in the head, the trigeminal nerve. This connective nerve creates a direct link between toothaches and headaches. Muscle clenching and jaw tightening can eventually lead to headaches as well.


Heart Attack

A common symptom of heart disease and heart attacks is jaw and tooth pain. This does not mean that if you are experiencing tooth pain, you are at risk of having a heart attack, but if you do have history of heart or coronary trouble, you should also give extra attention to how your teeth and jaw feel. If your toothache is accompanied with being light-headed, sweating, or any other heart attack symptom, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.



Patients with poorly controlled diabetes are at higher risk for developing tooth decay and other dental issues. People with diabetes are also more likely to have infections of their gums and the bones that hold the teeth in place. Diabetes is also known to cause dry mouth, leading to an increased risk of developing cavities and worsening gum disease.


Viral Infections

If you regularly suffer from sinus infections, you may also experience pain in your teeth. If you have a sinus infection or congestion, you may notice that your teeth feel more sensitive than usual, or you may even be experiencing pain or discomfort in your teeth or jawbone. Viral infections that can cause tooth pain include shingles, nerve diseases, and sinus infections.


Nerve Diseases

Unlike your enamel, tooth nerves are sensitive to stimulation. While this is helpful in determining if there is a problem with your teeth, it also means that irritating tooth nerves cause you pain and discomfort. The nerves in your teeth can be irritated by high and low temperatures and acidic and sugary foods.


Drug Abuse

While many people who think of drug abuse imagine the damage to the lungs, stomach, brain, or heart, many types of drugs also damage the teeth and gums. People who struggle with addiction spend a great deal of their time intoxicated on drugs or trying to acquire more drugs. This often leads to neglecting oral hygiene either because they cannot afford a dental visit or they stop caring about brushing their teeth.


Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamins are essential to your oral health. Without the necessary vitamins, it is possible that your bones in your jaw muscles and roots of teeth can become loose, causing tooth loss. A lack of vitamins can also cause other mouth issues, such as inflammation, infections, and bleeding. People struggling with a Vitamin B12 deficiency specifically have been known to experience pain that mimics a toothache.


Getting Rid of Tooth Pain

If you are experiencing severe dental pain, the best thing you can do is to schedule an emergency dental appointment. During an examination, we can diagnose the cause of your tooth pain based on the nature and location of your discomfort. Even if your pain is mild, don’t hesitate to call Premier Dental Center for advice.


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