INTRODUCTION. Pain intensity and oral health practices among patients with toothache, a major dental public health problem is necessary information for the formulation of preventive and interventional oral health policies. OBJECTIVE. To assess the pain intensity and oral health practices among dental patients attending a Nigerian secondary healthcare setting with toothache. MATERIALS AND METHODS. This study was a prospective study of adult patients attending the dental clinic of Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital, Dutse, Jigawa State, Nigeria. Interviewer-administered questionnaire which elicited information include demography, pain intensity using visual analogue, tooth brushing behaviour and previous dental treatment was the tool of data collection. RESULTS. The majority of the respondents were males and young adults. More than half (60.5%) of the respondents reported pain of moderate to severe intensity and 42.6% have engaged in self medication for the toothache. More than one-third (34.2%) had experienced the pain for ≥ four weeks and the major factor that prompted the decision to visit dentist were unbearable nature of the pain and sleep disturbances. Almost half (46.2%) of the respondents had previously visited the dentist and the common received treatment was tooth extraction. A total of 57.9% of the respondents indulge in twice-daily tooth cleaning. CONCLUSION. Data from this study revealed that respondents with toothache had history of dental visit and visited dental clinic when the pain is unbearable and disturbed sleep. There is a need for proper patient education at any encounter with dentist.