Tooth Hurts When I Bite Down — What Could Be Causing It

You know well that when your tooth aches, you should visit a dentist. Yet, lately, you’ve been a little confused. Your teeth don’t ache normally, but as soon as you bite into something, the pain begins. Why do my teeth hurt when I bite down? you’ve been wondering. Should I go see a dentist, or will it pass on its own?

Let’s make it easy for you — you should definitely have your teeth checked by a professional. An emergency dentist at Fresh Dental can have a look at your teeth and determine if something’s wrong. It should all be quick, simple, and painless.

But before you go, you might want to know what to expect. What sort of conditions can cause this kind of toothache? Well, you’ve come to the right place, so keep reading to find out.

Your Filling Is Too Large

Have you recently had any dental procedures that involved filling your tooth? If the answer is yes and your toothaches when you bite down, the problem could be in the filling size.

When your upper and lower teeth are of normal height, they both exert the same pressure on each other as you bite. Thanks to that, their weight is evenly distributed, and no tooth has to endure more than it can. That’s called normal occlusion, and it’s crucial for the painless functioning of your teeth.

However, when the filling in your tooth is too large, it gets in the way of normal occlusion. Now, the tooth in question will exert more pressure on the opposing tooth, causing it to ache every time you take a bite. This extra pressure will also affect the tooth with a filling, which is likely to start hurting too.

Luckily, this condition isn’t particularly serious. Your dentist will simply measure your occlusion using a special marking paper. Then, they will grind down and level the extra filling, adjusting your bite. Soon enough, you’ll be able to chew on your food without any discomfort again!

You May Have a Cavity

Cavities hurt — that’s no secret. But contrary to popular belief, they don’t necessarily ache all the time. In fact, some of them only ache when you bite into food or eat certain types of food. 

So, what exactly is a cavity? Well, it’s tooth decay that manifests itself as small holes in the enamel. Cavities can be caused by various things, including bacteria, sugary drinks and snacks, and improper teeth hygiene. They may eventually start irritating the nerve in the tooth, which is where the pain comes from.

Cavities never just go away on their own. In order to fix them, you need to visit a dentist who will fill them up. And to prevent any further development of cavities, make sure to use good fluoride toothpaste and avoid too much snacking and fizzy drinks.

You May Have a Cracked Tooth

If your tooth hurts when you bite down, you may be dealing with a condition that is fairly difficult to diagnose — a cracked tooth. Cracks in your tooth may appear if you grind your teeth in your sleep, chew on hard foods, or experience physical trauma. Aside from that, though, they can also be caused by old age and a natural process of tooth decay.

But why is a cracked tooth so difficult to diagnose? Well, because the fractures are often extremely thin and practically invisible even on X-ray, and symptoms are quite varied. For instance, you’ll likely experience some pain when you chew and sensitivity to heat and cold, but not much more than that. And these symptoms are characteristic of other conditions too.

Once a cracked tooth is diagnosed, though, the treatment tends to be successful. In most cases, the dentist fills the cracks or makes a new porcelain crown for your tooth. But if the damage is more severe, they might have to perform a root canal or even extract your tooth altogether.

You May Have a Dental Abscess

A dental abscess occurs when pus collects in a small pocket in the gums or the bone of your tooth. Usually, an abscess is the result of a bacterial infection, and it can be quite painful. But unlike a cracked tooth or cavity, dental abscess often comes with two telltale signs — unpleasant taste in the mouth and bad breath.

An abscess is considered a dental emergency, so you should get it checked as soon as possible. After all, the infection can spread to your jaw or even other parts of the body and make you feel quite unwell. So, as soon as you feel that your tooth hurts when you bite down, visit your dentist. It might not be an abscess, but it’s better safe than sorry.

To treat an abscess, your dentist will have to perform a root canal, drain the pus, and then fill your tooth. In some cases, though, that isn’t possible. Then, your dentist will probably have to extract the affected tooth.

Your Gums May Be the Issue

Even though your tooth hurts when you bite down, your gums may be the real problem. Some of the most common symptoms of periodontal disease are red swollen gums that hurt as you chew. That pain may easily transfer onto your teeth, making you think that’s where the pain is coming from.

If you suspect you might have periodontal disease, though, you should see a dentist right away. In its early stages, it’s typically only unpleasant. But if you let it develop any further, you might eventually lose most if not all of your teeth!

In Conclusion

Whichever of these problems you might have, it’s high time to visit a dentist. They’ll determine exactly why your tooth hurts when you bite down and then start the proper treatment. In no time, your teeth will be back to normal, healthier than ever, and you’ll be able to eat your favorite food without pain. So, what are you waiting for?