Tooth pain can arise for a number of reasons but in all situations the nerve located inside the tooth is irritated. It can range from simple cold sensitivity to acute pain that will keep you up at night. Common complaints of someone who is suffering from tooth pain are sensitivity to hot/cold that will linger, spontaneous aching in the jaw that will often radiate to the ear and pain that will wake them from sleep.
The best thing to treat tooth pain while you wait to get into the dentist is ibuprofen, commonly known as Advil. A standard exxtra strength dose is 400mg and often provides 4-6 hours of relief. Tylenol can be used in combination with ibuprofen if it is not providing the relief needed alone.
Tooth pain is commonly caused by tooth decay, cracked/fractured teeth, grinding habits and other reasons. It is important to have a good examination to determine the problematic tooth, in some situations it is obvious, in others it is not. If the irritation to the nerve is severe enough, it's removal through a procedure termed a root canal is often warranted. In some situations a tooth can be removed. In some situations, a filling can be placed to correct the irritating factor.