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Why Does My Tooth Hurt When I Bite Down?

Experiencing tooth pain when biting down can be a distressing and uncomfortable sensation. It can make eating and chewing food a painful experience, affecting your overall oral health and quality of life. There are several potential reasons why your tooth may hurt when you bite down, ranging from dental issues to underlying medical conditions.

Dental Causes

1. Tooth Decay: Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, is a common cause of tooth pain. When bacteria in your mouth produce acids that erode the tooth enamel, it can lead to cavities. If a cavity forms on the biting surface of your tooth, it can cause pain when pressure is applied during biting.

2. Cracked Tooth: A cracked tooth can result from trauma, grinding, or biting down on hard objects. When you bite down, the pressure can cause the crack to open, leading to pain. In some cases, the crack may be too small to be visible, making it difficult to diagnose without a dental examination.

3. Tooth Abscess: A tooth abscess occurs when there is a bacterial infection in the root of the tooth or the surrounding gum tissue. The infection can cause pain when pressure is applied, making biting down uncomfortable. Other symptoms of a tooth abscess include swelling, fever, and a foul taste or odor in the mouth.

4. Gum Disease: Advanced gum disease, also known as periodontitis, can cause the gums to recede and expose the sensitive roots of the teeth. When you bite down, the pressure on the exposed roots can result in pain and discomfort.

Non-Dental Causes

1. Sinus Infection: Sinus infections can cause referred pain to the upper teeth. The roots of the upper teeth are in close proximity to the sinuses, and when the sinuses become inflamed or infected, it can cause tooth pain when biting down.

2. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder: TMJ disorder affects the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. If the joint is misaligned or damaged, it can cause pain and discomfort when biting down. Other symptoms of TMJ disorder include jaw clicking or popping, headaches, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth.

3. Bruxism: Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common condition that often occurs during sleep. Grinding your teeth can cause stress and pressure on the teeth, leading to pain when biting down. If you suspect you grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend a nightguard to protect your teeth.

4. Dental Work: If you recently had dental work done, such as a filling, crown, or root canal, it is possible that the tooth may be sensitive or painful when biting down. This discomfort is usually temporary and should subside within a few days or weeks.

When to See a Dentist

If you are experiencing tooth pain when biting down, it is important to consult a dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. They will examine your teeth and may take dental X-rays to identify any underlying issues. Treatment options will depend on the cause of your tooth pain and may include fillings, root canals, extractions, or other dental procedures.

In the meantime, you can try over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, to alleviate the discomfort. Avoid chewing on the affected tooth and opt for softer foods that require less pressure when biting.

Remember, tooth pain when biting down should not be ignored, as it may indicate a more significant dental problem. Seeking timely dental care can help alleviate the pain and prevent further complications.

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