Teeth pain while biting down is a common dental problem that can be caused by various factors. It can range from mild discomfort to severe, sharp pain that can affect the ability to eat and speak. This issue can also indicate an underlying dental problem that requires prompt attention to avoid further damage. Understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of tooth pain when biting down is essential to maintain good oral health. In this article, we will discuss the possible causes of this issue, how it is diagnosed and treated, and the steps that can be taken to prevent it from occurring in the future.
There are several reasons why teeth can hurt when biting down. Some of the most common causes include:
Tooth decay or cavities: When bacteria in the mouth produce acid, it can break down the tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay or cavities. If the decay reaches the inner layer of the tooth, known as the pulp, it can cause pain when biting down.
Cracked or fractured teeth: Teeth can crack or fracture due to trauma, chewing on hard objects, or a large filling that weakens the tooth structure. This can cause pain when biting down, especially if the crack extends to the root.
Gum disease: Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue that can cause inflammation and damage to the supporting tissues and bones. This can lead to loose teeth, gum recession, and pain when biting down.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder: The TMJ is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. If it becomes inflamed or damaged, it can cause pain when biting down, along with other symptoms such as jaw pain and headaches.
Dental procedures or treatments: Some dental procedures such as fillings, root canals, and extractions can cause temporary pain when biting down due to the inflammation of the surrounding tissues.
Malocclusion or bite problems: Misaligned teeth or bite problems can cause pressure and pain when biting down, especially if it puts too much pressure on certain teeth.
The symptoms of tooth pain when biting down may vary depending on the underlying cause. However, some common symptoms may include:
Sharp pain when biting down: This is the most common symptom of tooth pain when biting down. The pain may be a sharp, shooting pain or a dull, throbbing ache that gets worse when biting or chewing.
Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks: Teeth pain when biting down can cause sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks. You may experience a sudden, sharp pain or a lingering ache that can last several minutes.
Swelling and redness in the gums: Inflammation of the gums may occur in response to an infection or trauma, causing redness and swelling around the affected tooth.
Loose or missing teeth: If teeth pain when biting down is left untreated, it can lead to loose or missing teeth. This can make it difficult to chew or speak properly and can also affect your appearance.
Headaches and earaches: Teeth pain when biting down can also cause headaches and earaches, especially if the underlying cause is related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
The diagnosis of teeth pain when biting down involves a dental examination, X-rays, bite analysis, and other tests. Here’s a breakdown of each:
Dental examination: A dental exam involves a thorough inspection of your teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues. The dentist will visually inspect your teeth for signs of decay, cracks, or fractures. They will also evaluate the condition of your gums to check for signs of inflammation, recession, or infection.
Dental X-rays: Dental X-rays can help identify problems that are not visible during a visual examination, such as decay between teeth, abscesses, or bone loss. X-rays can also reveal cracks or fractures in the tooth’s root or underlying bone.
Bite analysis: If malocclusion or bite problems are suspected, the dentist may perform a bite analysis. This involves evaluating the way your teeth come together when you bite down to determine if there is any misalignment or pressure on certain teeth.
Other tests: In some cases, the dentist may recommend additional tests, such as a pulp vitality test to determine if the tooth’s nerve is damaged, or a periodontal exam to assess the severity of gum disease.
The treatment of tooth pain when biting down depends on the underlying cause. Some common treatment options include:
Dental fillings: If tooth decay or cavities are causing the pain, your dentist may recommend a filling to restore the damaged tooth.
Root canal therapy: If the decay or infection has reached the inner layer of the tooth (pulp), your dentist may recommend a root canal to remove the infected tissue and preserve the tooth.
Extraction: In some cases, a severely damaged or infected tooth may need to be extracted to prevent further damage to the surrounding teeth and gums.
Orthodontic treatment: Misaligned teeth or bite problems can be corrected with orthodontic treatment, such as braces or Invisalign.
Bite adjustment: If a misaligned bite is causing the pain, your dentist may recommend adjusting the bite through dental restorations or orthodontic treatment.
TMJ treatment: Treatment for TMJ disorders may include medications, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.
Antibiotics: If the pain is caused by a dental infection, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection.
Prevention Of Teeth Pain When Biting Down
Prevention is key when it comes to tooth pain when biting down. Here are some tips to prevent this issue:
Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque and prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Avoid hard foods and objects: Chewing on hard foods or objects such as ice or pens can damage your teeth and increase the risk of tooth fractures and pain when biting down.
Wear a mouthguard: If you grind or clench your teeth at night, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and prevent bite problems.
Regular dental check-ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings to detect and treat any dental problems early.
Address dental problems promptly: If you experience any dental problems such as tooth decay or gum disease, seek prompt dental care to prevent further damage and complications.
Maintain a healthy diet: A diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help strengthen your teeth and prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Why Do Root Canals Take 2 Visits?
Root canals take 2 visits to allow the dentist to ensure that all infection is removed and to prevent the tooth from breaking. The first visit involves cleaning the infected pulp, while the second visit involves filling the tooth with a permanent filling or crown.
Does Tooth Sensitivity Go Away?
Tooth sensitivity can go away depending on the underlying cause. In some cases, sensitivity can be treated with dental procedures or changes in oral hygiene.
What Does Tooth Decay Look Like?
Tooth decay can look like brown or black spots on the surface of the tooth, or it may not be visible at all until it progresses and causes pain or sensitivity.
What Does Tooth Nerve Pain Feel Like?
Tooth nerve pain can feel like a sharp, shooting pain or a dull, throbbing ache in the affected tooth, and may be accompanied by sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
What Does A Cavity Smell Like?
Cavities can produce a bad odor or breath that smells sour or rotten due to the buildup of bacteria in the decayed area.
Teeth pain when biting down can be a sign of various dental issues, such as decay, infection, or bite problems. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further damage and improve oral health. Maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding hard foods, wearing a mouthguard, and seeking prompt dental care can prevent tooth pain when biting down.
Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.