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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 #1 cause of tooth pain is an untreated cavity, followed closely by gum disease. Even if your discomfort is only mild, you should still arrange a dental exam to ensure your mouth is healthy. Our Madison dentists at Total Care Dental have the knowledge and experience to uncover the cause of your tooth pain and treat the source.

Since most tooth pain is indicative of a larger dental problem, it is best to schedule an appointment right away.

Every smile is unique, requiring personalized dental solutions tailored to individual needs. Treatment plans are customized based on patient preferences and concerns, ensuring optimal outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Dr. Jason Vandehaar, DDS Dentist & Owner

How to Treat Tooth Pain

Madison Woman with Tooth Pain

Treating your tooth pain will depend on finding the root cause. Sharp, dull, and temperature-related tooth pain stems from different causes and requires different treatments. If you are not sure when the pain initially started, we'll help you recall your earliest instance of pain while suggesting the treatment method that will best treat the source. 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

  • Abscess
  • 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 a root canal. Make an appointment at our Madison office to arrange a diagnosis and treatment.

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4 Types of Tooth Pain

Woman with Pain in aw1. Sharp Toothaches

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 that should be addressed.

2. Dull Toothaches and Upper Teeth Pressure

Dull tooth pain is more serious than sharp pain since 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. A root canal is typically required to relieve dull tooth pain.

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

3. 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 surrounding 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 pain worsens.

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Tooth Pain After a Filling, Crown, or Root Canal

Dental procedures like fillingscrown or dental implant installation, and root canals may cause 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 rare cases, the pain may last longer.

  • Pain from a dental 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. 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 oral procedure, so mild pain afterward is to be expected. The discomfort is usually only temporary. Like fillings, your bite may be slightly altered due to the new teeth and can lead to temporary pain. A quick adjustment fixes this issue.
  • Root canals remove the nerve from a tooth, and it's not unusual to have tenderness afterward. If you have a crown added after a root canal, your bite height will be altered and may 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 prevent the issue from worsening. Even the most "effective" at-home pain remedies only provide temporary relief. If you cannot see a dentist immediately, try these at-home toothache remedies for 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


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 ongoing pain and permanent damage to your teeth and gums. To help our patients afford the care they need, Total Care Dental offers dental financing plans. We even have affordable options for patients with no dental insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Pain

What are my treatment options if I have a cavity?

When should I see a dentist if I have tooth pain?

Contact the dentist Madison, WI trusts to relieve toothaches 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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