What Counts as “Extreme Tooth Pain?”

May 20, 2022 by bestedge

What Counts as “Extreme Tooth Pain?”

Tooth pain can be frightening, especially if you aren’t sure what’s causing it. Extreme tooth pain is an even more pressing story. This kind of pain is usually a dental emergency. But what exactly counts as “extreme” tooth pain? What does extreme tooth pain feel like?

There are actually different kinds of pain for different conditions. Here are a few that you might experience, along with information on when it’s an emergency.

Debilitating Pain

The most extreme tooth pain is debilitating pain. Oftentimes, a toothache will reach this level if it is ignored for too long. This pain is intolerable. It will make it impossible to do anything except think about the pain.

With this kind of extreme tooth pain, you might also feel dizzy and nauseous. You might feel like you have to go to the emergency room to get help.

If you feel like you need the ER, then it’s definitely time for an emergency dentist visit. Sometimes we can get people in for same day appointments here at Carolina Dental Arts.


This kind of debilitating problem might be the result of multiple issues. Maybe your tooth has become cracked or shattered. Maybe the root of the tooth is exposed or infected.

If you have odd swelling or pressure in your jaw, you may have an abscess. Abscesses form in cavities inside your mouth. These infections build up immense pressure and can be extremely painful. They are also dental emergencies that must be treated immediately.

If you aren’t able to get into our office for this type of pain, you should go to the ER. That goes especially if swelling or fever is involved.

Throbbing Pain


Throbbing pain can be extremely distracting and frustrating. It’s a type of extreme tooth pain that makes it hard to concentrate. Sometimes the pain comes on suddenly. Sometimes it comes on gradually from a low-level toothache.

You might feel throbbing around one tooth. Or you might feel the throbbing spread to a few different teeth. Depending on the cause, the pain could spread throughout the side of your face. Your gums might seem red and swollen.

Extreme tooth pain of this variety is a dental emergency. Even if the pain isn’t debilitating, it still warrants an emergency consultation.


You might be dealing with a broken tooth. Or you might have advanced gum disease that needs treatment.

Gum disease can cause the gums to retreat from the teeth, leaving the nerves exposed. Tooth decay can also expose the root of your tooth if it wears down your enamel enough.

You can take OTC anti-inflammatories to help with this, but those are just an interim measure. Even if the toothache seems to go away, you should schedule an emergency dentist consultation.

Sharp Pain

Sharp pain can come on suddenly and intensely. It is usually triggered by something, like your tooth touching another tooth. The most common trigger is biting down on food.

Sharp pain often ebbs as soon as it comes on. It might also involve throbbing or aching. But the initial pain is sharp and acute.

Some people might experience occasional sharp pain when they bite down, but only sometimes. That’s still a cause for concern.


Most sharp pains are centered around a single problem tooth. In the vast majority of cases, the tooth has been damaged somehow. It might be chipped or cracked. Do you feel any changes in the surface if you run your tongue over it?

If you experience sharp pain in a tooth that has a crown or filling, there may be a different problem. The restoration might have an issue. Maybe it’s not fitted properly, or it has become damaged somehow.

Because of this, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Even if the tooth doesn’t “always” hurt, one bout of sharp pain is enough. Even if it’s not extreme tooth pain!

Damaged teeth can wear down far faster than their non-damaged counterparts. This can lead to your pulp and nerve becoming exposed, causing more major problems. If your tooth has a hairline crack, any bite could accidentally split it.

Dull Pain

Dull tooth pain isn’t exactly extreme, but it is cause for concern. It usually feels like dull aching in your jaw, your teeth, or just one tooth.

It’s common for this kind of toothache to get “better” with OTC pain meds and rest. But you haven’t actually cured the underlying cause.


A dull ache can be caused by all kinds of different things. Some of the most common include:

  • Some food is stuck in the tooth.
  • The tooth has decayed somewhat.
  • The gums are inflamed due to gingivitis.
  • Your wisdom teeth are growing in.
  • You grind your teeth unknowingly in your sleep.

If you feel pressure when you bite down on the aching tooth, you might have an abscess. As previously mentioned, an abscess is always a dental emergency.

Make sure you brush and floss your teeth to get rid of any stuck debris. If the issue persists, see a dentist ASAP.

Here at Carolina Dental Arts, we provide emergency dental services 7 days a week. We also speak Spanish! Book an emergency consultation at our New Bern Avenue clinic to determine the cause of your extreme tooth pain.



Kathy Anders
Kathy Anders
Excellent staff and love my dentist and the ladies in the office! Mrs. Patsy is my favorite and Liz is second. They are all good at what they do. Keeping my smile and my teeth looking their best! Awesome as always!
Marian Malone
Marian Malone
Ashley who was my hygienist today did such a wonderful job on my teeth. I have gone in for cleanings before with other dentists in the area of Goldsboro and always come out with yellow teeth still.. I did not have any any kind of whitening done she just cleaned my teeth and I felt so good afterward .
Julian Edwards
Julian Edwards
Rodney Mealing Jr
Rodney Mealing Jr
The Staff and service were great. From scheduling to dental work done, everything went easy. Felt relaxed, would recommend their services.
Tisse Martin (Tisse)
Tisse Martin (Tisse)
Carolina Dental Arts staff & services are amazing. I called in as a new patient. They got me in and took care of my tooth the same day, with little waiting time. I was truly impressed. Thanks again CDA, see you guys soon ! 🤗
Janai Donyele
Janai Donyele
My name is Sharonda. And I have been going to Carolina Dental for years, this is my family, whom I love so much. So kind very considerate, and patient. God bless everyone that works there. Love u guys.
Ellen Barlow
Ellen Barlow
Friendly staff and Dr Taylor!! They really ease your anxiety!

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