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What Causes Tooth Sensitivity When Chewing?

Dr. Degel Aug 26, 2016

An open mouth being examined with a dental mirrorIt's fairly common to experience some degree of tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, but tooth sensitivity from the pressure of chewing is less common and can indicate a dental health issue. General dentistry treatments can help pinpoint the causes of tooth sensitivity and provide relief. To find out what might be causing your tooth sensitivity when chewing, schedule a consultation with Queens, NY dentists Clifford Degel and Carmen Every-Degel.

The Causes of Tooth Sensitivity When Chewing

Tooth sensitivity when chewing can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes tooth sensitivity is a result of gum recession, a complication of gum disease or brushing too hard, or it may be caused by enamel erosion. When tooth sensitivity only occurs when chewing, it may be an indication of a structural problem with the tooth, such as a cracked or missing filling, a fractured tooth, root canal infection, or abscess. These structural issues can directly impact the nerves and tissues within a tooth, causing sensitivity or pain when exposed to chewing forces.

Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity when biting down or chewing is often an indication of tooth decay or a root canal infection and should not be ignored. Because tooth sensitivity can be an indication of a serious dental problem, it's important to undergo a thorough dental examination to determine the underlying cause. Once a cause is determined, the appropriate treatment can begin, which may include:

  • Dental fillings: Old, damaged fillings, as well as untreated tooth decay, can cause tooth sensitivity. Replacing old dental fillings or placing new fillings can help alleviate tooth sensitivity. Tooth-colored fillings are a popular treatment option as they provide aesthetically pleasing results, restoring both oral health and appearance.
  • Dental crowns: Broken, fractured teeth can be restored with dental crowns. Dental crowns are custom-made, tooth-shaped restorations designed to fit over a damaged tooth. Dental crowns may also be used to restore the strength of teeth with large fillings.
  • Root canal therapy: Root canal therapy can effectively treat root canal infections and save an infected tooth from requiring extraction. During root canal therapy, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and infected nerve and pulp tissue is removed, helping to alleviate tooth pain.

Preventing Tooth Sensitivity

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity when chewing, it's important to schedule a dental appointment to protect your oral health. Once you undergo treatment, you can help prevent future tooth sensitivity by following these tips:

  • Brush and floss daily: Brushing and flossing regularly can help prevent tooth decay and root canal infections. Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day to protect your smile.
  • Use light pressure when brushing: Brushing with too much pressure can wear away the enamel and cause gum recession, increasing the risk of tooth sensitivity. Use light pressure and a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging the teeth.
  • Schedule regular checkups: Regular checkups and cleanings are essential for catching damage early and preventing tooth decay. Schedule a checkup and cleaning once every six months.

Discover Your Treatment Options

For more information about tooth sensitivity when chewing, or to discover your treatment options, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Drs. Degel and Every-Degel.

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