What Causes Tooth Sensitivity When Chewing?

Tooth Sensitivity and Chewing - Bismarck, ND

Posted on Apr 06, 2017 by Dr. Everett Heringer

A woman holding her hand to her mouth in painWhen chewing or putting pressure on the teeth causes pain, it may be a sign of dental damage. Ignoring this type of tooth sensitivity may only make matters worse. Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments are available to treat the underlying causes of tooth sensitivity and restore oral health. If you experience tooth sensitivity when chewing foods, it's important to see a dentist to find out if the teeth are healthy and structurally sound. To learn more about tooth sensitivity and chewing, schedule a consultation with  Bismarck, ND dentists Everett E. Heringer and Brielle Renz.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity When Chewing?

Tooth sensitivity can occur for a number of reasons. When tooth sensitivity happens when chewing, it's often due to pressure being applied to the nerves within the teeth and may be a sign of dental damage. Some possible causes of tooth sensitivity when chewing include:

  • Gum recession: Gum recession is a condition in which the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing the delicate structures of the tooth, including the roots, to plaque and bacteria, which can cause tooth sensitivity.
  • Enamel erosion: The teeth are protected by a strong outer layer called enamel. Acids, bacteria, and friction, like that caused by brushing the teeth too hard, can wear away the enamel. This leaves the teeth vulnerable to decay and can cause sensitivity when chewing or eating hot or cold foods.
  • Tooth decay: Tooth decay can allow bacteria to reach the inner structures of the teeth including the nerves and blood vessels, which can lead to a root canal infection and pain when chewing.
  • Dental fractures: Dental fractures can cause pain when chewing by allowing foods to reach the nerves of the teeth or from the pressure of broken portions of the teeth pressing against the nerves.
  • Cracked filling: Similar to a fractured tooth, a cracked or broken filling can press against the tooth's nerve, causing pain when chewing.

Treatments to Relieve Tooth Sensitivity

Treating tooth sensitivity begins with determining the underlying cause through a thorough dental examination. A dental exam is necessary to identify any oral health issues that may be responsible for tooth sensitivity. Once a cause is pinpointed, appropriate dental treatment may be performed.

Treatment may include tooth-colored fillings to repair a damaged filling or treat tooth decay, dental crowns to restore fractured teeth, or gum surgery to treat recessed gums. When dental pain is caused by a root canal infection, root canal therapy is generally the best course of action to treat the infection and alleviate dental pain.

Preventing Tooth Sensitivity

The best way to prevent tooth sensitivity is to practice good oral hygiene habits starting with brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day and scheduling regular dental exams and cleanings. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush can also help reduce the risk of enamel erosion and gum recession.

Discover Your Treatment Options

To learn more about treatments for tooth sensitivity, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Heringer or Dr. Renz today.