4890 E Bonanza Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89110 702.649.6859


Sudden Tooth Pain? Here’s What Might Be Causing It

There are many reasons why you may experience sudden tooth pain. Here are some possible causes:

Temperature Sensitivity

What causes temperature sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks?

It's normal for teeth to experience some temporary discomfort when exposed to something hot, cold, sweet, or acidic. However, if your teeth are especially sensitive to temperature changes, you should speak with your dentist about a possible underlying problem.

A layer of enamel protects the inner layers of a tooth from extreme temperatures. If the enamel is worn away or thin (which can occur as a result of aggressive brushing), the dentin and pulp layers are exposed, which can make temperatures like hot or cold foods and beverages more painful than they normally would be.

To treat sensitive teeth, it can be helpful to minimize exposure to things that cause pain or discomfort. Applying desensitizing toothpaste to your teeth can also help with pain caused by changes in temperature. Brushing with a softer toothbrush can also help prevent gum recession and abrasion that can lead to tooth sensitivity.

If the problem persists after you've had a professional cleaning and are using sensitive toothpaste, the underlying issue might be tooth decay. In this case, you'll need restorative treatment to repair the damage before you can have a cavity treated or a cracked or broken tooth repaired.

Gum Recession

When gums recede, the root structure of the tooth is exposed, which can make the tooth more sensitive to temperature changes and sensitive to pressure. You might also notice gum recession causing a tooth to look longer than its neighbors.

Gum recession is caused by several factors, including brushing too hard, poor oral hygiene, genetics, tobacco use, hormonal changes, teeth grinding, and gum disease.

Call your dentist right away if you experience sudden tooth pain. You could have an infection, abscessed tooth, or broken filling or crown that needs immediate attention. In some cases, you might need the infected tooth removed to prevent the spread of the infection to surrounding teeth. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to treat the underlying infection.


A cracked tooth can cause pain due to temperature sensitivity and an exposed dentin surface. If the crack is minor and the tooth is not unrestorable, we may recommend a tooth-colored filling or bonding material to seal the area and prevent bacteria from entering the inner layers of the tooth. But, if the crack is large and deep, we may recommend a more intensive treatment like a dental crown.

Worn enamel exposes the softer layer of dentin within the tooth, which can cause tooth sensitivity to extreme temperatures like hot or cold foods and drinks. This can also lead to more serious issues like cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.

The best way to avoid these problems is to practice good oral hygiene habits at home and come in for regular cleanings and exams at our dentist. 


A cavity is a hole in your tooth that is caused by decay and bacteria. When this occurs, the bacteria can cause an infection in the pulp, which is the inner portion of a tooth containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue fibers. In addition to causing pain, the infection can also lead to an abscessed tooth.

Symptoms of cavities include:

  • Sensitivity to sweet foods and drinks
  • Pain when biting down
  • Swollen gums around a tooth
  • An indentation in your tooth
  • Dark discoloration along the gumline of a tooth

Gum Infection

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup and harmful bacteria in the mouth. This early stage of gum disease can typically be reversed with daily brushing and flossing and regular cleanings and checkups at the dentist's office. If gingivitis goes untreated, it can worsen to periodontitis, which is an infection that damages the connective tissue and bone holding the teeth in place. In severe cases, periodontitis can cause the teeth to fall out. This is why it's so important to prevent the onset of gum disease through proper at-home care and regular visits with us. 

Symptoms of a gum infection may include:

  • Redness and/or swelling of the gums around one or two teeth
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath that doesn't go away after brushing and/or using mouthwash
  • Loosening of the teeth
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Tender to the touch
  • Chronic dry mouth

If you experience these symptoms and believe you may be suffering from gum disease, please give our office a call right away to schedule an appointment. 

Cracked Tooth or Crown

If the sudden pain is coming from your tooth enamel being cracked, then you'll need to visit your dentist as soon as possible. They'll be able to examine the area and determine if you need a crown or another form of treatment. If left untreated, the crack will continue to grow and can cause severe pain.

Sinus Infection

Sinus infections are a common source of facial and jaw pain. The pain can be so bad that it can even cause headaches. The sinuses are small cavities in the skull that are connected to the nose. When they become inflamed due to a cold or allergies, they can become very painful. The pain will be localized to the area of the sinus cavity that is affected. If you suspect you have a sinus infection and are in pain, make sure to call your dentist as soon as possible. We can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading to other areas of the body.

Jaw Clenching

Some people clench their jaws at night and don't even realize it. When muscles are always tense, they can cause headaches or even toothaches. You might wake up with a throbbing headache every morning when you wake up, or you might notice a sharp or dull pain in your teeth when you open and shut your mouth.

If you suffer from bruxism, you may be interested in getting a custom night guard to protect your teeth and relieve your pain. 

To learn more, get in touch with Bonanza East Dental at 4890 E Bonanza Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89110, or call (702) 649-6859 to book your appointment.

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