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

Experiencing sudden tooth pain can be both alarming and intensely uncomfortable. Whether it strikes sharp and fast or builds gradually into a throbbing agony, understanding what might be causing this unexpected discomfort is the first step towards finding relief. At Foutz Family Dentistry, we know how distressing sudden dental pain can be. That’s why we’re here to shed light on some of the common culprits behind this common dental issue. Recognizing the potential causes can not only help in alleviating your immediate pain but also in preventing further dental health complications. With the right knowledge and timely dental care, you can keep your smile healthy and pain-free.

Now, let’s dive into the common causes of sudden tooth pain, helping you understand why you might be experiencing this discomfort and how Foutz Family Dentistry can assist in treating it.

Common Causes of Sudden Tooth Pain

Tooth Decay

One of the most frequent causes of sudden tooth pain is tooth decay. Cavities, the result of decay, start small but can quickly penetrate deeper into the tooth, reaching the sensitive nerve fibers within the dentin and pulp. This penetration can lead to a sudden, sharp pain, especially when eating sweet, hot, or cold foods. Tooth decay is a progressive issue; without treatment, the pain can become more persistent and severe, signaling the need for immediate dental attention.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, begins as inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup. In its early stages, known as gingivitis, you might notice some discomfort or bleeding during brushing. However, as the condition worsens, the gums can recede, and the roots of the teeth can become exposed, leading to sudden and severe pain. Gum disease can also cause pain due to the formation of abscesses in the spaces between the teeth and gums.

Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth can be the result of many factors, including biting down on something hard, an injury, or even just the natural aging process. Sometimes, the crack might be too small to see, but it can expose the inner pulp of the tooth to bacteria, leading to inflammation and sudden pain. This type of pain is often felt when biting down or when the tooth is exposed to very hot or cold temperatures.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition where a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection forms in different parts of the tooth. This can lead to sharp, throbbing, or shooting pain that may spread to the jawbone, neck, or ear. Other symptoms might include fever, swelling, and a bad taste in the mouth. An abscess requires urgent dental care to prevent the spread of infection.

When to See a Dentist

If you’re experiencing sudden tooth pain, it’s crucial not to ignore it. Pain is your body’s way of signaling that something is wrong, and in the case of dental issues, what might start as a minor problem can quickly escalate into something more serious if left untreated. At Foutz Family Dentistry, we recommend scheduling an appointment as soon as you notice discomfort. Our team is equipped to diagnose and treat the root cause of your pain, providing relief and preventing further complications.

Preventive Measures

Preventing sudden tooth pain involves a few simple yet effective practices that can significantly impact your oral health. Here are some essential tips:

  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene:

    • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
    • Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles between teeth.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups:

    • Visit Foutz Family Dentistry every six months for a routine examination and cleaning. These visits are crucial for catching potential issues early and keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
  • Protect Your Teeth:

    • Wear a mouthguard during sports or recreational activities to prevent injury.
    • Avoid chewing on hard objects, such as ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candy, which can crack or chip your teeth.
  • Healthy Diet:

    • Limit sugary and acidic foods and beverages that can erode tooth enamel and lead to decay.
    • Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products to support dental health.

By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of experiencing sudden tooth pain and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. Remember, preventive care is key to avoiding dental emergencies and ensuring long-term oral health.


While sudden tooth pain can be unsettling, understanding its potential causes is the first step toward finding relief. Remember, prompt treatment is key to preventing further dental health issues. If you’re experiencing sudden tooth pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to Foutz Family Dentistry. Our experienced team is ready to provide the care you need to smile comfortably once again.

For appointments or consultations, visit our website or contact us directly. We’re here to help you maintain a healthy, pain-free smile.


What Does Single Tooth Discoloration Mean?

Dealing with yellowing teeth is a common issue for many people. Teeth can become discolored from smoking, food and drink stains, or plaque and tartar buildup. However, sometimes people notice that just one tooth is discolored when the rest around them are their normal shade. What causes this, and what can be done about it?

Tooth decay often happens when the enamel (the hard, protective coating on the outside of your teeth) starts to erode. When this is gone, it’s more likely that plaque can stick to your teeth (and plaque is filled with bacteria).

If you see a dark spot on one tooth, this can be a sign of many other things, too, such as:


  • Cavities – Cavities that are left untreated can cause brown, yellow, or black spots on a tooth.
  • Tooth decay – Teeth will turn gray, brown, or black if the pulp inside has died.
  • Injury – Trauma to teeth can damage the nerves, which can cause spots or whole-tooth discoloration.
  • Tartar buildup – When plaque isn’t removed, it turns into tartar, which stains teeth and can be difficult to remove.
  • Fluorosis (excess fluoride) – Sometimes children receive too much fluoride during the time that their teeth are forming. This can cause fluorosis, which can result in tooth discoloration.
  • Celiac disease – Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) can cause wear and tear on teeth enamel, which in turn causes brown spots on the teeth.
  • Overuse of antibiotics – Certain antibiotics, mainly tetracycline and doxycycline, can cause discolored teeth. This typically happens in children who took these medications regularly while their permanent teeth were forming, but it can also be caused when the mother took them during pregnancy.
  • Tartar buildup -Single-tooth discoloration can also be caused by tartar buildup. Tartar is hardened plaque, and it often presents as yellow or brown, usually by the gumline.
  • Chlorhexidine mouthwash – This type of mouthwash is prescribed for people with halitosis or chronic bad breath. Although it kills the bad bacteria which cause bad breath, it can cause brown spots on the teeth.

Usually, when only one tooth is discolored (i.e., yellow, gray, or brown) and there aren’t spots on the surrounding teeth, it can signify a root issue. Check with your dentist and get an x-ray to determine if there are issues underneath your gums that are causing single teeth to become discolored. If the pulp inside your teeth dies and has caused your tooth to turn brown, you’ll probably need a root canal.

Many people also notice that their teeth become spotty with age. This is sometimes a result of a few factors, such as enamel wearing down over time, darkening dentin (the substance underneath enamel that surrounds each tooth), and years of stains from food and drink.

Check your teeth carefully for spots and make sure that you’re staying up on dentist visits twice a year. If you notice that one tooth is discolored compared to the rest, don’t ignore it! Treating the issue early can mean saving your tooth and preventing further damage.


Why Are Sealants So Helpful For Children And Their Developing Teeth?

Regular brushing and flossing are two of the most effective ways to help avoid cavities. Young children, however, are often still learning to properly brush their teeth, especially the back molars, making them more prone to cavities and tooth damage. Even children who are great at brushing their teeth can still see decay in a tooth because of the small pits (indentations in the tooth) and fissures (natural grooves) that are difficult to fully reach with a toothbrush.  

Bacteria build up in these pits and fissures is five times more likely to cause a cavity than along the edge of the tooth where the toothbrush and floss can easily reach.  While toothpaste and fluoride are very effective in protecting teeth, back molars sometimes need an extra level of protection.  

Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surface of the back molars. This protective coating can prevent cavities by blocking bacteria and food from building up on the tooth and consequently stopping decay in its early stages.

Why Should Children Get Sealants?

Tooth decay happens when germs in the mouth convert sugars into acid.  This acid then erodes the tooth causing a cavity.  Sealants in children can reduce the risk of decay by almost 80 percent.  Even if a small cavity is covered up by the sealant, the sealant will still keep the cavity from spreading and protect the tooth from further cavities. A study by the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention found that children ages 6-11 without sealants have almost 3 times more cavities than children who do have sealants.

When Should Children Get Sealants?

Sealant should be put on permanent molars as soon as they come in, before decay can set in.  The first permanent molars come in between the ages of 5 and 7 with the second set come in between 11 and 14 years of age.  Some dentists might even recommend putting sealants on baby teeth as well to help prevent baby teeth from decaying and falling out too early. 

On average, sealants will last up to ten years and are routinely checked for wear and tear at dental check ups to ensure that they are still properly bonded and protecting the molar from decay.  If a sealant is showing chips or wear, it can easily be repaired or replaced.

The Process Of Applying Sealants

The first step in applying a sealant is to thoroughly clean and dry the teeth. An acidic gel is then applied to roughen up the surface of the teeth in order to help the sealant bond to the tooth.  After rinsing and drying the teeth once more, the sealant is painted onto the chewing surface of the molar covering it’s natural pits and fissures. A blue curing light is used to aid in the hardening process.

Henderson Sealants For Children

Barton H. FoutzDr. Barton Foutz of Foutz Family Dentistry has over 30 years of experience providing the Henderson and Las Vegas communities with superior dental care. Dr. Foutz can apply protective sealants to your child’s molars quickly and painlessly. If you have a child between the ages of 6 and 14, contact Foutz Family Dentistry today at (702) 792-5929 for more information or to schedule an appointment today!

Dr. Barton H. Foutz, DDS
2510 Wigwam Parkway Suite 100 Henderson, NV 89074
(702) 792-5929

Ezbond A. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
1st Generation:

Great Grandfather

Dr. Ezbond A. Foutz
Harold B. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
2nd Generation:


Dr. Harold B. Foutz
Lawrence C. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
3rd Generation:


Dr. Lawrence C. Foutz
Barton H. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
4th Generation:

Family and Cosmetic Dentist

Dr. Barton H. Foutz