What Counts as “Extreme Tooth Pain?”

What Counts as “Extreme Tooth Pain?” | Carolina Dental Arts

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.

What Counts as “Extreme Tooth Pain?” | Carolina Dental ArtsDebilitating 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.

READ MORE  How Dental Implants Restore Your Confidence

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.

READ MORE  What are the Causes of Teeth Stains

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.
READ MORE  Restorative Dentistry: Reviving Smiles and Renewing Confidence

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *