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Why Your Toothache Isn't a Cavity

by Williams, Daily & Frazier on Aug 7, 2023 9:30:00 AM

A toothache can be an uncomfortable and bothersome experience, causing pain and disrupting your daily routine. While many people assume that toothaches are always a result of cavities, there are other reasons behind tooth pain. In this blog post, we will explore common reasons why your toothache may not be due to a cavity and discuss the signs that differentiate them. 

Exercising Too Much

Believe it or not, intense physical exercise can cause toothaches in some cases. The increased blood flow during exercise can lead to greater sensitivity in the teeth and gums, resulting in discomfort. This type of toothache is temporary and should subside once you finish exercising and allow your body to rest.


An abscessed tooth is a severe infection at the root of a tooth or between the gums and teeth. It is often accompanied by intense throbbing pain, swelling, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Unlike a cavity, an abscessed tooth requires immediate attention from a dentist as it can lead to severe complications if left untreated.

Fractured Teeth

A tooth fracture, chip, or crack can cause significant tooth pain. Sometimes, the fracture is not visible to the naked eye and can be detected only through dental examinations. Fractures can occur for many reasons, such as trauma, biting on complex objects, or even untreated cavities. Treatment options for fractured teeth vary depending on the severity of the crack, ranging from dental bonding to dental crowns or root canal therapy.

Filling Fell Out

If you experience sudden tooth pain after a filling falls out, it could be due to the exposed tooth structure. Without the protection of the filling, the tooth becomes more sensitive to temperature changes and biting pressure. Visit your dentist promptly to replace the filling and prevent further damage or decay to the tooth.

Grinding Teeth

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common habit that often occurs during sleep or in response to stress. Over time, teeth grinding can lead to toothaches, jaw pain, and worn-down teeth. A custom-made mouthguard or splint can help protect the teeth and alleviate the symptoms associated with bruxism. Identifying and addressing the underlying causes of stress can also be beneficial in managing teeth grinding.

Sinus Infection

Sometimes, a toothache can be a referred pain from a sinus infection. The upper teeth may ache or feel sensitive when the sinuses become inflamed or infected. This type of toothache is often accompanied by other sinus infection symptoms such as congestion, facial pressure, and headache. Treating the underlying sinus infection will help alleviate the associated tooth pain.

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorder

TMJ disorder affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jawbone to the skull. This condition can cause jaw pain, facial pain, headaches, and toothaches. It often occurs due to jaw misalignment, teeth grinding, stress, or injury. A dentist experienced in treating TMJ disorders can provide various treatment options, including oral appliances, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications.


Cavities are a common cause of toothaches, but they are not the only reason for dental discomfort. Excessive exercise, abscesses, fractured teeth, lost fillings, teeth grinding, sinus infections, or TMJ disorders can also contribute to tooth pain. 

If you're experiencing persistent tooth pain or any dental concerns, don't hesitate to reach outto the experienced professionals at Williams, Daily, and Frazier. They are dedicated to addressing all your dental needs and ensuring your oral health and comfort.

Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist in Raleigh, NC with a dedicated team of dentists, assistants, hygienists and administrators who are enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes.
Contact Williams, Daily & Frazier at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.