What’s Causing That Oral Pain?

Man brushing

There are many reasons we experience pain throughout the body. Some, like injuries, are worth worrying about; others, like the occasional headache, not so much. But when it comes to your mouth, even a little pain can be a big concern. Sometimes it’s hard to tell why you’re feeling what you’re feeling, especially when it’s inside your mouth. If you’re experiencing tooth or jaw pain, it could be for many reasons, none of them clear to the naked eye. If you have mouth pain but can’t seem to figure out exactly what hurts or why, here’s what you should know.


Cavities cause pain that originates from one tooth (unless you have more than one cavity). Sometimes you can see cavities on the teeth, but other times it’s not easy or possible to do so without tools or a trained eye. If you are experiencing isolated pain that includes aching, throbbing, sensitivity to hot or cold, swollen or tender gums around the affected tooth, and even a foul odor coming from the tooth, see Dr. George right away.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, will often display itself as swelling, tenderness and pain in the gums. Your gums may be prone to bleeding when you brush or floss, and you may have bad breath. Early-stage gum disease or gingivitis may have no pain at all, but gums may still be red and swollen and bleed easily during routine oral health care.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJ dysfunction, occurs when the temporomandibular joint of the jaw becomes misaligned from the rest of the jaw. This can result in jaw pain, jaw tightness, the inability to open and close the mouth, headaches, neck pain, back aches, GERD, and tinnitus. With such a wide variety of symptoms, it can be hard to tell if you really have TMJ dysfunction or not, but the good news is that Dr. George can! If you are experiencing any symptoms mentioned above, whether they be in your teeth, gums, jaw or elsewhere in the body that may be related to the mouth, such as the head and neck, give Dr. George’s office a call at 724-220-2347.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on September 17th, 2019