Should Your Toothache Worry You?

You know that slightly annoying, sometimes distracting nuisance of a tooth? Even if the discomfort isn’t severe, the fact that your tooth is sensitive could mean impending trouble. Other than the pressures of biting and chewing, or the motion of your toothbrush when you brush them, your teeth shouldn’t feel anything at all. If they do, it could indicate a number of things, most of which are good reasons for your toothache to make you worry.

How Teeth Are Built

Your teeth are the most-used parts of your body, and as such, they’re subjected to an immense amount of pressure every day. Thankfully, they’re designed to withstand such pressure, and to do so without discomfort. The outer layer of your teeth, called enamel, is made almost entirely of mineral crystals, and is the strongest substance your body produces. Enamel protects the main mass of your tooth, which is comprised of a porous, bone-like substance called dentin. When enamel is weakened or compromised, the dentin underneath it can be disturbed, aching as it sends sensory information to the nerves at the dentin’s center (in a chamber called the pulp).

Common Causes of Toothaches

If your toothache is caused by damage or erosion to your enamel and/or dentin, then the severity of the pain depends on how compromised the tooth is. For instance, mild enamel erosion, which results when oral bacteria produce acid, can make your teeth slightly uncomfortable, while a fully-developed cavity can instigate a more serious, persistent pain. Severe toothaches often occur when the tooth is cracked, fractured, or broken, or when tooth decay has penetrated the tooth’s pulp and directly infects the nerves and blood vessels. If not treated, a mild toothache could quickly develop into a more serious problem, and require more extensive treatment to resolve.


Calcagno Family and Cosmetic Dentistry offer expert services including teeth whitening, Six Month Smiles, Invisalign, root canals, and pediatric dentistry. To schedule a consultation, please call (507) 218-8936. Dr. Gilly Calcagno and Dr. Kara Heimer welcome and serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, Austin, and the surrounding communities.