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Why Do My Teeth Hurt When Biting Down?

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teeth hurt when biting down

If you’ve experienced a sudden, sharp pain when biting down on something, it can be alarming. A common culprit is teeth sensitivity which can make your teeth hurt when biting down. Read on to find out what else might be causing your symptoms and how you can treat them and get relief.

Why does my tooth hurt when I bite down?

If a tooth hurts when you bite down or put pressure on it, there are several possible causes for your symptoms, such as:

Sensitive teeth

When the enamel on your teeth gets worn down, it exposes the underlying tissues. Tiny channels in the tissues of the tooth allow painful stimuli like pressure, acidity, or hot and cold sensations to reach the tooth’s root where the nerves are located. If your teeth hurt when biting down, it could be because you have sensitive teeth due to wearing down of the enamel on your teeth. Try to make a note of whether your teeth also hurt when eating sweets, as this can be another clue that teeth sensitivity is the culprit.

Tooth decay

Cavities, also called tooth decay, are holes or tiny openings in the hard surfaces of a tooth. Poor oral hygiene, excessive intake of sugary drinks, and frequent snacking are common causes of tooth decay. Cavities can cause sudden pain or pain that is worse with eating and drinking. If you have tooth decay, you may be able to see visible brown discoloration or pits on the surface of the affected teeth. Your dentist can perform a thorough professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar (here’s how much a professional cleaning costs).

Tooth abscess

A tooth abscess is a pus collection that is caused by a bacterial infection inside a tooth. It can make your teeth hurt when biting down. If your bottom teeth hurt when biting down, it may be that there is an abscess in these teeth. Your dentist can take a look and treat the abscess. This is a serious condition and should not be ignored. Your dentist may offer treatments such as antibiotics, incision and drainage, root canal treatment, or pulling the affected tooth.

Ill-fitting dental appliances

If you wear dentures or braces and they don’t fit properly, they can make your teeth hurt when biting down. Keep all your dental appointments and do not delay seeking care for broken braces or poorly-fitting dentures.

Problems outside the mouth can make teeth hurt when biting down

Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) can make teeth hurt through referred pain. Similarly, a painful jaw condition called TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome can make teeth hurt when biting down. Getting treatment for these conditions can provide relief from your tooth pain symptoms.

It also worth making a note of when your tooth pain is worse. For example, if your teeth hurt in the morning more so than during the day, it could be due to bruxism (teeth grinding). Your dentist may recommend a mouth guard to wear at night.

What to do if my teeth hurt when biting down?

You should make an appointment to see your dentist if your teeth hurt when biting down. A dental professional can get to the bottom of what is causing your symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment after examining your mouth.  

For instance, if teeth sensitivity makes your teeth hurt when biting down, you may need to avoid, or at least consume in moderation, foods and drinks that can irritate sensitive teeth, such as very cold or hot beverages and acidic foods.

Brushing your teeth twice a day with a desensitizing toothpaste can help to reduce the symptoms of sensitive teeth. These toothpastes contain compounds like potassium nitrate and stannous fluoride that block pain signals between the surface of the tooth and the nerves inside it.

If bruxism or grinding your teeth is making your teeth hurt when biting down, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard to provide relief and protect your teeth against complications like tooth fracture.

If you have symptoms such as teeth hurt when biting down or you’ve simply fallen behind on routine dental care, don’t delay it any further. Call Express Dentist today and we’ll connect you to a dentist in your area. Our toll-free 24/7 hotline is free and representatives are online to help you right away.

About the author

Dr Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo

Dr. Greg Grillo DDS studied at the University of Washington where he received a bachelors degree with Honors and later attended dental school on the same campus. Following school Dr. Greg served in the United States Navy as a dental officer. During this time he received advanced training in specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of members of the military.

As well as sharing valuable information on dentistry and oral health, Dr. Greg remains a practicing dentist to this day. He works with families in the Okanogan Valley where he lives with his wife and three children.

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