On a scale of one to ten, with perfectly healthy teeth as one, a bad tooth rapidly approaches a ten. Left untreated, non-restorable teeth, also simply referred to as a bad tooth, can cause a ripple effect of damage throughout your mouth. Bad tooth pain is more than just a nuisance – it can have serious consequences on your overall health.

Help! What can I do about my bad tooth?

Deciding what to do about your tooth depends on what caused it in the first place. There are five common causes of bad tooth pain or decay.

1. Cavity

Cavity is the most common cause of bad tooth pain. Caused largely by poor diet and oral hygiene, cavity can cause pain as it progresses deeper into the tooth.

2. Avulsed teeth

Missing adult teeth are also referred to as avulsed teeth.

These can be missing due to an accident or trauma to the mouth. They may have cracked or broken off due to tooth decay. In the latter case, avulsed teeth can cause considerable pain if nerves are exposed.

3. Abscessed tooth

An abscessed tooth may begin with a superficial cavity that weakens the attachment of gum to tooth.

This may also allow cracks to form in the teeth. When either of these happens, bacteria leaches under the gumline or into the tooth itself, causing an abscessed tooth.

4. Crowded teeth

Too many teeth improperly spaced can make proper oral hygiene difficult. Once hygiene begins to slip, the door opens to cavity and tooth decay.

While crowded teeth on their own may not cause a bad tooth, they are challenging to clean. This can speed up the process of decay.

5. Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is the number one reason that people lose their teeth. Tooth decay that progresses unchecked begins to affect the gums and bones of the jaw. When this happens, tooth abscess can occur, further damaging the bone and gums.

This list doesn’t cover all possible causes of teeth that have gone bad. These are only five of the main reasons people seek treatment for bad tooth pain. Regardless of the cause, there are a variety of treatment options available, as we’ll explain shortly.

What are common bad tooth symptoms?

Bad tooth symptoms are straightforward.

  • Pain: Pain occurs because whatever has caused the tooth has made its way down to the nerves in the tooth. In the beginning, bad tooth pain occurs only when pressure is applied to the tooth. As it progresses it may become a constant ache.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold: Sensitivity to hot and cold may occur before pain.
  • Bad smell: Tooth decay is exactly what it sounds like. Something – in this case, your tooth – is being eaten by bacteria and putting off a bad smell. Bad breath may go away briefly after brushing or flossing, and then return if the source of decay is not treated.
  • Bad taste: Particularly in the case of an abscessed tooth, a bad taste is a common symptom of a bad tooth. The abscess contains foul-smelling and tasting liquid that rushes into the mouth when the abscess bursts. This may relieve the pain until the abscess begins to fill again.
  • Visible decay: Tooth decay is visible to varying degrees as it progresses. Starting as a small brown or grey dot on the tooth, decay gets darker and spreads as it worsens.

The last and final symptom of a bad tooth is a blessing and a curse. If you have been experiencing sever