This text is replaced by the Flash movie.



Dental pain is commonly called toothache, although most people who have suffered from toothache would describe it as pain rather than just an ache! The pain is felt in affected teeth and surrounding structures, and may radiate all over the head.


Dental pain can almost always be cured by having appropriate treatment from a dentist. Pain relievers are useful while you wait for an appointment, or after dental surgery.



What causes dental pain?


The most common cause of dental pain is dental caries or tooth decay. Other causes of toothache include tooth cavities, abscesses, gum disease, sensitive tooth root, a cracked tooth, impacted teeth (such as wisdom teeth) and eruption of teeth. Dental pain can also be experienced with other conditions such as angina or heart attack, sinusitis, neuralgias of the face, jaw joint disorders, psychological disorders and tumours.



What are the symptoms?


  • Pain when drinking hot or cold beverages
  • Pain when eating sweets or sugary snacks
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Pain when biting or chewing food
  • Severe pain that wakes you up at night
  • Severe continuous pain that comes suddenly, out of the blue



What is the treatment?


Pain relievers will temporarily relieve the pain, but they won’t resolve the underlying problem. It is best to see a dentist as soon as you can. Don’t wait for the pain to resolve itself or the problem may get worse. You might need fillings for cavities, a cap, root canal treatment, removal of one or more teeth, scaling and polishing of your teeth or referral to a periodontist if you have serious gum disease.


A New Zealand clinical trial of patients undergoing wisdom teeth removal showed that a combination of paracetamol 500mg + ibuprofen 150mg offers very effective dental pain relief*.


If you have a bacterial infection, your dentist will probably prescribe a course of antibiotics. It is important to continue taking the antibiotics until you have finished the course, even if the abscess is healed and the pain has gone – otherwise the infection might flare up again.




More Information

E Medicine Health enter “toothache” for a list of links


* Clinical study report April 2008 AFT Document Number CSR/MX-1/NZ01




Any medical information in this website is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, it is of a general nature only.  Please consult with a health care professional if you have a specific problem. 


This website contains links to external websites.  In no event shall we be responsible for the content, accuracy or opinions expressed in these websites.  We take no responsibility for mistakes or deficiencies in this website.  We exclude liability for any direct, indirect of consequential loss or damage of any kind incurred by any user of this website.