Throbbing tooth Pain: Causes and 5 Recommended Treatments

Last Updated on: 4th April 2024, 11:53 am

Dental pain can affect the normal development of daily activities. This is the main reason why most people visit the dentist every year. In this article, you will learn what it means to have throbbing tooth pain, what causes it, the best treatment, and what to do at home to control it while waiting to go to an emergency dental service.


What is Throbbing Tooth Pain?

throbbing tooth pain
throbbing tooth pain

It is a throbbing and intermittent pain that comes and goes and occurs suddenly or gradually. Depending upon the cause, it can last minutes, hours, or even days; the sensation is like the beating of the heart. Teeth are made up of several layers: the outermost is enamel, there is an intermediate layer called dentin, and the innermost is the dental pulp or nerve.

The nerve is a soft, humid tissue enclosed between the hard tissues such as enamel and dentin. When the tooth shows some damage, the nerve becomes inflamed, engendering a shooting pain known as pulpitis.

On other occasions, pain occurs due to an affectation at the level of the periodontal ligament, that is, the tissue that supports the teeth inside the mouth. The sensation of pain is very similar to that of pulpitis.

In addition to sporadic pain, you may present one or more of the following symptoms:

    • Pain when biting
    • Pain when eating something sweet, sour, cold, or hot
    • Sensitive teeth and/or jaws
    • Inflammation and redness of the gums
    • Bad taste and odor in the mouth
    • Fever
    • Pus (abscess)
    • Infection


What are the Possible Causes of Throbbing Tooth Pain?

The main causes of stabbing pain are:

    • Broken or mismatched restorations (resins, crowns)
    • Gum disease
    • Dental infections
    • Erupted or impacted wisdom teeth
    • Bruxism (teeth clenching)
    • Caries dental
    • Dental fractures

Another very common reason is the use of braces as part of orthodontic treatment, in which case the pain is normal. It occurs during the first days after the installation appointment but disappears until the next appointment.


What is the Recommended Treatment for Dental Pain?

swollen cheeks treatment
swollen cheeks treatment

Because the reasons for the pain are so variable, treatment will depend upon the cause. Likewise, it will be evaluated how affected the tooth is, how strong the pain is, and in which specific cases to determine the ideal treatment for each patient. Here are the treatment according to the cause:


1. Broken, misaligned, or dislodged restorations (resins and crowns)

When biting down on something hard, during a habit of clenching the teeth, or when the restorations are very old, they tend to become damaged or mismatched. If this happens, you may feel an increase in the sensitivity of the tooth to cold and/or heat.

    1. If the restorations are small, they can be performed again; if they are very large, it is likely that a partial or complete crown will be required to recover the normal function of the teeth.
    2. The handling of caries and dental fractures is very similar. If the dental nerve has not been affected, a resin or crown can be made. But if the nerve has suffered damage, a root canal treatment must be done, and then the final restoration.


2. Gum disease

It is known as gingivitis and in more advanced stages as periodontitis. This disease is the main cause of dental loss worldwide since it degenerates the bone that supports the teeth such that they become loose until they fall out. It is normally caused by poor oral hygiene, habits such as smoking, and hormonal changes or heredity. When there is pain, it is necessary to carry out a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing, as well as maintaining periodic controls to evaluate the evolution of the disease.


3. Dental Infections (abscess)

These infections appear when the nerve of the tooth dies. They are an inflammation at the level of the gum, whitish-yellowish in color and showing the presence of pus. The pus must be drained and may require management with an antibiotic, in which case it will be indicated by the dentist. It is also possible to perform a root canal treatment so that the infection disappears and the tooth can be retained.


4. Erupted or impacted wisdom teeth

Although any tooth causes discomfort or throbbing tooth pain, the most common causes are erupting wisdom teeth. The pain from the eruption of a tooth is associated with the fact that it might grow in a bad position (wrong direction) and does not come out through the gum as it normally should. The reason why this problem occurs may be due to lack of space in the mouth, crowding, or damage to the root of a neighboring tooth, perhaps due to a bad position. The treatment indicated in these cases is pain management with an analgesic, the extraction of the teeth in question, or opening the space with surgery so that the tooth can emerge.


5. Bruxism (teeth clenching)

The problem of clenching or grinding the teeth occurs when the afflicted person is asleep. It can cause pain in the jaw, the facial muscles, and the teeth. In addition, it can cause fractures and damage to the teeth from the force of clenching. The first thing to do is treat the cause of the clenching. Then a tooth guard will be fitted and relief techniques for muscle tension and stress can be applied.


Is it Possible to Control Throbbing Dental Pain at Home?

On some occasions, it is possible to do it temporarily. While going to the dentist, you can follow some of the following recommendations at home:

  • Place cold compresses or ice on the painful area intermittently for a few minutes.
  •  Rinse with warm salt water when there is inflammation.
  • Take analgesics or anti-inflammatories for pain management. The use of antibiotics requires a medical prescription from your dentist.
  • Placing cloves or aloe vera in the area of ​​pain, since they have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide is especially effective when the pain is caused by gum disease. It should not be used in children.

If you have sharp pain or any discomfort at the dental or jaw level, the recommendation is to schedule a dental consultation as soon as possible to determine the cause of the pain and the indicated treatment.

Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications from developing and help you maintain good oral health.


Contact us

If you have any questions about this or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental as well as our page on Facebook. We look forward to your visit and we will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in  Oxnard, Santa Paula, VenturaNewbury Park, and  Port Hueneme will be able to guide you toward the best treatment to take care of your health and give you back your best smile.



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