What Does Throbbing Tooth Pain Mean?

Businessman feeling tooth pain.

Throbbing tooth pain may be a sign that you have tooth damage, usually caused by tooth decay or cavities. Throbbing tooth pain is also likely to occur when an infection occurs in your tooth or in your gums.

Most toothaches are caused by infection or inflammation, which is called pulpitis. The pulp is the inner nerve that keeps your tooth alive and healthy, but when the pulp becomes infected or damaged, serious throbbing pain may occur. A cavity or crack in the tooth can allow germs to get inside the tooth affecting the pulp and causing irritation and infection. 

Potential Causes of Throbbing Tooth Pain

Tooth Nerve Pain

As we briefly mentioned, the nerves for your teeth are located in the pulp (which is why you will feel so much pain when the pulp is damaged.) 

Pain within the pulp will usually fall into two different categories, they are: 

  • Pulpal Sensitivity: This is when you have nerve pain in one single tooth. This will indicate that your pain is coming from the pulp that may have been caused by a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth. Those issues will likely lead to tooth decay or infection, causing pain.
  • Dentinal Sensitivity: This refers to nerve pain that may be a few or all of your teeth; this usually happens because your tooth enamel is worn down. You may notice sensitivity to hot or cold foods. The causes of dentinal sensitivity are the use of teeth whitening products, receding gums, and untreated cavities. It’s also possible to wear down your enamel from using too hard of a toothbrush or brushing your teeth too forcefully.

Some other symptoms that may happen while having throbbing tooth pain are: 

  • sharp pain when eating
  • sensitive teeth
  • tenderness in the mouth
  • aching in the jaw
  • gum swelling
  • Redness in gums 
  • bad taste in your mouth
  • a bad smell in your mouth
  • pus 
  • fever


Tooth Pain After Filling

Unfortunately despite your best effort sometimes issues can arise after getting a filling. 

Here are the 3 most common issues associated with tooth pain after a filling:

1. Malocclusion

Pain in your tooth after a filling is usually a result of imperfect positioning. This causes it to interfere with your bite. When your filling is placed too high, it will cause a malocclusion, preventing your teeth from fitting in line with each other.  

2. Type of Filling

The type of filling your dentist uses during your filling can affect your tooth pain. One Material that is used, called composite resin, can often cause pain because it can sometimes shrink, creating a gap and causing discomfort or irritation.

3. Galvanic Shock

Galvanic shock occurs when adjacent fillings composed of different metals touch one another. It can produce an electric current that shocks the inside of your mouth!


Wisdom Tooth Pain

Everyone has seen the viral post-operation wisdom teeth videos, but many people don’t know about all the pain associated with wisdom teeth beforehand. 

Here are 3 common problems that cause pain when your wisdom teeth are coming in:

  • Growing Pains: If your wisdom teeth are hurting, it may just be them growing in. Wisdom teeth breaking through the gums will cause pain, slight swelling, and soreness.
  • Cavity: Wisdom teeth may crowd your mouth, creating tight spaces for some of your teeth. These tight spaces are hard to clean, which can lead to cavities.
  • Impacted Tooth: When a wisdom tooth becomes impacted, it causes swelling and pain when chewing. You may also experience pain in the jaw and difficulty opening your mouth.

All sorts of pains and complications can happen in your mouth. Simply taking care of your mouth and practicing good dental hygiene will make it very unlikely to be affected by serious pain in your teeth. If you play sports, wear a mouthguard to prevent any damage that’s out of your control. Besides that, floss daily to remove plaque, brush twice daily, and see your dentist every six months, and you should be well on your way to a healthy smile. If you are experiencing unbearable pain you may want to seek an emergency dentist near you immediately.