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Tooth Pain: Types, Causes, and Remedies in Madison WI

Tooth Pain: Types, Causes, and Remedies in Madison WI

Total Care Dental dentists know how to uncover the cause of your tooth pain and relieve it. Since most tooth pain is indicative of a larger dental problem, come in right away for treatment.

Toothache Relief from Your Madison Dentists

Tooth pain is defined as any pain in or around your tooth, ranging from mild to excruciating. The number one cause of tooth pain is an untreated cavity, followed closely behind by gum disease. Even if your discomfort is only mild, you should still arrange for a dental exam to ensure the rest of your mouth is healthy. Our Madison dentists at Total Care Dental have the knowledge and experience to uncover the cause of your tooth pain while relieving your discomfort. Since most tooth pain is indicative of a larger dental problem, it is best to schedule an appointment right away.

Treating Tooth Pain

Madison Woman with Tooth Pain

Treating your tooth pain will depend on the cause. Sharp, dull, and temperature related tooth pain have different causes and different treatments. If you are not sure when the pain initially started, try to recall the earliest instance of when you noticed the pain. This will help us to determine potential causes. Read on to identify your symptoms, possible causes, and tooth pain relief options. Then make an appointment at Total Care Dental in Madison before the pain gets any worse.

Common Causes of Tooth Pain

  • Abcess
  • Braces
  • Cavities
  • Gum Disease
  • Jaw injuries
  • Cracked Teeth/Exposed Roots

Other causes include disorders of the jaw joint, physical injury, general infection, issues with a filling or crown, and even non-dental causes like sinus problems. A toothache can be triggered by anything from a sudden change in temperature to chewing tough food. All tooth pain should be taken seriously to avoid long-term consequences like extraction or root canal. Contact our dentists to arrange diagnosis and treatment. 

Types of Tooth Pain

Woman with Pain in awSharp Toothache Causes

The cause of sharp pain may be decay, a loose filling, bruxism (clenching and grinding teeth), cold temperatures, or a cracked tooth. Sharp tooth pain usually does not last long or linger. Depending on the issue, you may need a replacement filling or root canal to stop the pain. The onset of sharp pain is usually sudden, indicating an immediate problem for your oral health.

Dull Toothache and Upper Teeth Pressure

Dull tooth pain is more serious than sharp pain because it is generally related to irreversibly damaged nerves inside the tooth. This pain is generally triggered by hot temperatures of foods and drinks, is felt for a long period of time, and originates from the nerve or pulp of the aching tooth. To relieve dull pain and correct the problem in the tooth, a root canal is typically required.

Your upper back teeth share nerves with your sinuses, which is why dull pain in your upper teeth may actually be from sinus pressure, not a dental problem.

Constant Pain and Pressure, Swelling, and Sensitivity to Touch

Constant pain can indicate a tooth infection or abscess spreading from the pulp of the tooth into surrounded tissues and bone. This pain may manifest as dull or sharp, sometimes switching between the two. See your dentist right away as you may need a root canal. In the meantime, minimize the pain with ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or approved over-the-counter medications.

Dental Sensitivity to Hot or Cold

If you experience momentary pain from hot or cold food and liquids, there is probably not a serious problem with your teeth. The sensitivity may indicate a small area of decay, a loose filling, or an exposed root surface. While not as serious as unexplained pain, you should still arrange a meeting with our dentists to minimize your discomfort.

  • If your teeth are sensitive to temperature after dental treatment, the dental work may have caused inflammation to the pulp tissue inside your tooth. The sensitivity may last a few days or even a week.
  • If you have lingering pain after eating hot or cold food, the pulp inside your tooth may be inflamed or dying due to deep decay. You need to see our dentists for treatment before an abscess forms and the pain becomes worse.

Tooth Pain After a Filling, Crown, or Root Canal

Dental procedures like fillings, crown or dental implant installation, and root canals may all lead to temporary tooth pain. Almost all dental procedures, including cleaning, can irritate the teeth and gums. Fortunately, any discomfort usually resolves itself within a few days. In some cases, pain may last longer.

  • Pain from a filling is usually a result of a change in your bite. Since the tooth is no longer the exact same height or size, it won’t fit perfectly with the surrounding teeth when you chew or talk. This discomfort usually passes as you get used to your new filling. In some cases, a small adjustment may be made to correct the bite. Also, fillings for very deep cavities may cause temperature sensitivity for a few weeks.
  • Crown and dental implant installations can cause soreness for several days. Having a tooth filed down or extracted and replaced is an ordeal for your mouth, so mild pain afterwards is to be expected. The discomfort will usually pass on its own. Like fillings, your bite may be different due to the new teeth and cause some pain. A quick adjustment will take care of this.
  • Root canals remove the nerve from a tooth and some tenderness is not unusual. If you have a crown added after your root canal, your bite height may be wrong and need adjustment. Otherwise, pain after a root canal should only last for a couple of days. The area around the root canal may be sensitive to temperature changes.

At Home Tooth Pain Remedies

If you have tooth pain you should see a dentist to resolve your dental problems and prevent the underlying issues from worsening. If you cannot see a dentist immediately, Total Care Dental would like to share a few at home tooth ache remedies which might offer temporary relief:

Sensitive Toothpaste for Teeth

  • Avoid chewing with the tooth when possible and eat soft foods
  • Reduce exposure to cold and hot foods/beverages
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water (add half a spoonful of salt and stir)
  • Brush and floss your teeth to remove food and other particles from the irritated area
  • Place an ice pack on the outside of your mouth near the tooth
  • Switch your toothpaste to one “for sensitive teeth”
  • Use acetaminophen or other pain relievers like Tylenol or aspirin
  • Use products for oral pain relief which contain benzocaine like Anbesol and Orajel
  • Clean the gum line gently with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste


These home remedies will not cure your tooth pain, but may temporarily reduce or relieve your pain. When you are experiencing tooth pain, visit our Madison Dentist and receive exceptional dental care and pain relief.

Frequently Asked Questions


Have more questions about the causes and treatments of tooth pain? Check out our frequently asked questions about tooth pain! Or schedule an appointment so we can go over what is causing your mouth to hurt.

Treating Tooth Pain with No Dental Insurance

Many people put off treating their tooth pain because they don’t have dental insurance. This can lead to permanent damage to your teeth and gums. To help our patients afford the care they need, Total Care Dental provides many dental financing plans. We also have discounts for patients without insurance.

Don’t wait in pain any longer, schedule an appointment today. Our Madison dentists are ready to help you feel better!

Contact the dentist Madison, WI trusts to relieve tooth aches for an appointment today!

No Insurance? We've Got You Covered.

Total Care Dental offers multi-level payment options for a variety of dental care services at our Madison, WI location. Enjoy routine checkups, cleanings, x-rays, periodontal preventative care and more without the hassle of dealing with insurance companies that don't value your time or health needs.

Benefits include:

  • Low-cost monthly payments
  • 10% off additional treatments
  • Immediate Benefits
  • Un-enroll any time
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Meet the TCD Madison Dentists

Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable professionals create a warm, inviting atmosphere, ensuring patients of all ages feel welcome. At TCD, we treat every patient like a member of our family.

Dr. Brett Clark

Dr. Brett Clark

Dentist & Owner

Little League Coach, Barefoot Water Skier, Exercise Junkie, Super-Dad!

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Dr. Jason Vandehaar

Dr. Jason Vandehaar

Dentist & Owner

Eagle Scout, Badger Fan, Dog Lover, Lifeguard, Hater of Shredded Coconut!

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Dr. Tammy Kalsow

Dr. Tammy Kalsow


Positive, loving, nurturing spirit. 

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Dental Hygienist

Positive Spirit, Team Leader, Hockey Mom; "A family that flosses together stays together!"

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Dr. Tammy Kalsow
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Providing Free Dentistry to Patients in Need

The Share a Smile program allows the staff of TCD to give back to our local community. One day a  month, we provide free dentistry services to our neighbors in need. We work in partnership with the Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) and are looking to join with more churches, low-income housing facilities, and food pantries to expand our reach.

Check out our website to learn more about the Share a Smile program.  Even if you do not meet the eligibility requirements for free dentistry, our dental financing plans make preventative, cosmetic, and restorative services easily affordable for our Madison patients.


Contact our Madison Dental Clinic for complete oral health care at 608-274-1911 or Request a Dental Appointment online!