Why Does My Tooth Hurt When I Bite Down? (+Tips)

Why Does My Tooth Hurt When I Bite Down? (+Tips)

Have you noticed some pain in your tooth when biting down or clenching your jaw? 

There are many underlying issues that could be causing this discomfort, including tooth decay, loose fillings, or even a tooth-grinding habit. 

Today, we’ll be taking you through some reasons why your tooth may be hurting when you bite down, as well as providing some tips on how to relieve some of this discomfort. 

We’ll be covering: 

  • Causes of tooth pain when biting down
  • Additional contributing factors
  • Tips for managing tooth pain at home
  • When to see a dentist
  • Prevention of tooth pain when biting down.

Let’s go ahead and jump right into it! 

Causes of Tooth Pain When Biting Down

There are many different reasons why you may be experiencing some tooth pain when biting down. 

While some are not a huge cause for concern, others may require immediate action. Here are some of the most common reasons for tooth pain and discomfort. 

Tooth Decay

If one of your teeth is decaying, it is likely that you will experience some pain when biting down on the particular tooth. 

There are many other indications of tooth decay that you may notice, such as an unpleasant taste, strong odor, and black or brown spots on the teeth. 

When a tooth is decaying, the area becomes swollen and irritated due to the bacteria. This swelling and irritation can press against nerve endings, which is what causes the pain. 

Pulp Necrosis

Pulpitis is an infection of the pulp, which is the tissue surrounding the tooth root and is rich in blood vessels and nerves. It often occurs as a result of tooth decay. Pulp necrosis is a condition that occurs when these tissues die due to the infection. This can lead to moderate to severe pain when biting down.

A tooth abscess and biting discomfort are just two of the major dental problems resulting from pulp necrosis.

Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth can also be a cause of tooth pain and discomfort. 

By shining a light into your mouth and checking the tooth in a mirror, you may be able to see the damage. This is something that you should visit a dentist for as soon as possible. 

Clenching your jaw or biting down with a cracked tooth can cause the cracked pieces to move and shift. This in turn can cause irritation to the tooth pulp and surrounding gum, which is why you are likely to notice intense pain in the area. 

Gum Disease

Another common cause of tooth pain is gum disease. If you do have gum disease, you may notice a range of other symptoms such as red or purple gums, bad breath, bleeding gums, loose teeth, gum recession, and more. 

Untreated gum disease can spread to the surrounding gums and bones in your mouth, making it painful to chew or bite down. 

Abscessed Tooth

Pain when biting down may also be a sign of an abscessed tooth. 

If this is the case, you will generally also notice redness both inside and outside the mouth, a swollen face or jaw, a high temperature, and difficulty chewing or fully opening your mouth. 

An infection resulting from an abscessed tooth will generally cause a buildup of fluid and tissue inside the tooth. This buildup is what causes the toothaches commonly associated with an abscessed tooth. 

Loose Filling

Tooth pain may simply be the result of a loose filling. If you have any fillings in your mouth, there is always a chance that these will become loose over time. 

While this is often something you will be able to feel or visually see, it can often go unnoticed for a long time. 

When a filling does come loose, it can expose the inner tooth to bacteria, heat, cold, and pressure. This is likely to cause significant pain to the tooth and may also result in inflammation. 

Misaligned Teeth

Getting misaligned teeth corrected is not always an aesthetic choice – it can often also relieve tooth pain. Severely misaligned or overcrowded teeth can cause significant tooth pain or discomfort if left untreated. 

An uneven bite can also cause significant jaw pain due to the strain put on your jaw muscles and joints. An overbite or an underbite can even affect the overall shape of your jaw and face. 

Fractured Fillings and Loose crown 

Tooth discomfort may also be caused by dental crowns, which are specialized caps placed over broken teeth, or dental fillings used to treat cavities.

These can affect the underlying structures and cause discomfort while biting if they are damaged, loose, or ill-fitting.

The pain or discomfort may only persist temporarily with fractured fillings and isn't quite as severe. Broken fillings have the potential to press firmly on neighboring teeth.

Additional Contributing Factors

Along with the underlying conditions or issues that may be causing your tooth pain, there are also some additional contributing factors that may be worsening this pain – or they may even be the sole cause of it. 

Let’s go ahead and take a look at some common factors that can often cause or exacerbate tooth and jaw pain. 

Teeth Grinding

Many people have a habit of grinding their teeth. This is known as bruxism, and it is often something that occurs during your sleep. For some, this issue may also persist into the daytime. 

Grinding your teeth can put extra pressure on them, leading to tooth pain. The clenching and grinding of your teeth can also cause jaw pain and stiffness. 

If you have concerns surrounding teeth grinding, your dentist may be able to provide some suggestions on how to combat this issue. 

Sensitive Teeth

If you are experiencing tooth pain, this can often be caused or worsened by having sensitive teeth. Exposed dentin or worn-down enamel leaves your teeth vulnerable and more sensitive to pressure, leading to significant pain. 

If you notice that your teeth hurt when consuming particularly hot or cold food or beverages, chances are you have sensitive teeth. There are several ways that you can combat this, such as using sensitive toothpaste. Dentists will generally be able to recommend the best ways to lessen the effects of sensitive teeth. 

Tips For Managing Tooth Pain At Home

Tooth pain is never fun and if you are experiencing it, you likely want to lessen the discomfort as soon as possible. 

The good news is that there are several ways that you can combat tooth pain at home until you have the chance to visit a dentist. 

  • Over-the-counter pain medication – One of the easiest ways to combat tooth pain is to take some OTC pain relief such as Tylenol. While this is only a temporary fix, it can help lessen tooth pain significantly. 
  • Applying a cold compress – Holding a cold compress or an ice pack against the jaw near the affected area will often help relieve mild tooth pain. This is a quick and simple way to lessen tooth pain at home. 
  • Salt water rinse – Salt is a natural disinfectant and can help to combat tooth pain in a pinch. To create a saltwater rinse, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth, similar to a mouthwash. 
  • Peppermint tea bags – When applied to the affected area, peppermint tea bags can have a numbing effect, helping to combat tooth pain. Simply soak a peppermint tea bag in water and allow it to cool before pressing it against the affected area. 

It is important to note that these are only temporary solutions to help relieve pain for a short period of time. Professional help is crucial and you should visit a dentist as soon as possible when experiencing significant tooth pain. 

When to See a Dentist

So, when exactly is tooth pain considered ‘severe enough’ to see a dentist? 

The truth of the matter is that you should visit a dentist as soon as you have any concerns regarding tooth pain. Here are some specific symptoms to look out for when it comes to oral health concerns. 

  • Pain while biting down – If you are experiencing tooth or jaw pain when biting down, you should visit a dentist as soon as you can. There are many underlying issues that this pain could be stemming from, so it is good to get it checked out as soon as possible. 
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods or drinks – A strong sensitivity to hot or cold foods or beverages is another cause for concern that you should discuss with a dentist. While some mild tooth sensitivity to frozen foods is common, strong sensitivity to hot and cold stimuli is something worth getting checked out. 
  • Swelling around the affected tooth – Any swelling around the tooth and jaw area is a red flag and should be checked by a dentist as soon as possible. This can be an indication of gum disease, an abscessed tooth, and many other oral health issues. 
  • High temperature – If you are experiencing tooth pain in combination with a high temperature or fever, is it best to visit a healthcare provider immediately. There is a high chance that you are dealing with an abscessed tooth or another severe health issue. 
  • Issues with jaw mobility – Struggling to open your jaw all the way or feeling pain when doing so calls for a trip to the dentist. There shouldn’t be any tension or discomfort when opening your jaw. 

There are several different procedures that a dentist or doctor can do to help lessen your tooth pain depending on the issue you are experiencing. 

This can include filling cavities, crown placements, root canal therapy, tooth extraction, and much more. 

Visit the emergency room if your tooth pain is followed by swelling in your mouth, throat, or eyes or if you are having trouble breathing.

Prevention of Tooth Pain When Biting Down

If you find yourself regularly experiencing periods of tooth pain when biting down, chances are you want to find ways to prevent this issue from persisting. 

Good news – there are some measures that you can take in order to minimize the risk of experiencing this tooth pain. 

Regular Dental Check-ups

One of the most important habits that you can form when it comes to oral hygiene is having regular dental check-ups. 

This is a great way to catch any issues before they start to bother you, eliminating tooth pain before it even begins. 

You should generally visit the dentist for a checkup at least twice a year. This number may be higher if you are having oral health issues or are particularly prone to oral disease. 

Proper Oral Hygiene 

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is hands-down the most effective way to prevent any oral health issues from arising. Using high-quality oral care products is vital to good oral hygiene. 

You can find effective oral hygiene products at companies such as Boka, which have a range of toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, and even toothbrushes that can help you maintain a healthy mouth. 

Boka products contain gentle ingredients that are great for sensitive teeth. These products utilize the active ingredient Nano-hydroxyapatite and are entirely fluoride-free. 

Wearing a Mouthguard

If you have a habit of grinding your teeth while you sleep, wearing a mouthguard is something that can help stop this habit in its tracks. 

The guard acts as a barrier between your top and booth teeth, preventing them from grinding together. This can greatly decrease tooth pain and sensitivity. 

 Avoid Foods That Can Damage Your Teeth 

It is common knowledge that food with a high sugar content is not great for your teeth. 

Steering clear of sugary foods and sodas can help prevent the formation of cavities. Not only can cavities cause a significant amount of tooth pain, but they will likely require fillings during your next dentist visit, which can be pricey. 

Avoiding particularly hard and chewy foods, such as hard candy or toffee, can also prevent jaw pain. 

Eating these foods frequently can strain the muscles and joints of your jaw, which in turn can cause pain or discomfort. 

Stay Hydrated 

Drinking water is known to help with a wide range of health issues, and this is also true for oral health. 

Drinking water consistently throughout the day can help to wash away any debris that may be on your teeth, improving your overall oral health. 

Drinking water regularly can also help to dilute acids in your mouth that may damage your teeth. Not only does washing out debris and diluting acid help prevent tooth pain, but it can also help to prevent bad breath. 

Join The Boka Tribe For a Healthier Smile

If you are interested in making the switch to a range of oral hygiene products that are going to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums without harmful chemicals, then it is time to join the Boka tribe! 

Boka products are gentle on teeth and gums, cleaning and protecting your teeth with our non-toxic, high-performing formulas. Our n-Ha-based products help to remineralize teeth and support enamel health. 

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