A toothache, also known as odontalgia or, less frequently, as odontalgy, is an aching pain in or around a tooth. In most cases toothaches are caused by problems in the tooth or jaw, such as cavities, gum disease, the emergence of wisdom teeth, a cracked tooth, jaw disease, or exposed tooth root. Causes of a toothache may also be a symptom of diseases of the heart, such as angina or a myocardial infarction, due to referred pain. After having one or more teeth extracted a condition known as dry socket can develop, leading to extreme pain. The severity of a toothache can range from a mild discomfort to excruciating pain, which can be experienced either chronically or sporadically. This pain can often be aggravated somewhat by chewing or by hot or cold temperatures. An oral examination complete with X-rays can help discover the cause. Severe pain may be considered a dental emergency.
Atypical odontalgia is a form of toothache present in apparently normal teeth. The pain, generally dull, often moves from one tooth to another for a period of 4 months to several years. This is most commonly reported by middle-aged women. The cause of atypical odontalgia is not yet clear.
Shakespeare well addressed the singular pain of a toothache in Much Ado About Nothing, Scene Five, Act One (Leonato speaking):