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Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive When I Chew?

By Kenneth Malament on April 10, 2017

A woman with a toothacheTooth sensitivity isn't just a minor issue. It may be the first sign of a serious dental problem. That's why we always take these matters seriously at our Boston restorative dentistry center. We encourage our patients to let us know of any concerns so we can examine these matters further.

If you notice pain or sensitivity when biting and chewing , you may wonder what's causing it. Let's get into why this simple action can lead to discomfort. To discuss that, let's first consider the anatomy of a tooth.

The Anatomy of a Tooth

There are three basic layers to a tooth:

  • The Enamel Layer – The topmost layer of a tooth is comprised of enamel. It's one of the hardest substances in the entire human body.

  • The Dentin Layer – Beneath the tooth enamel is a substance known as dentin. It is strong yet porous, and the pores in the dentin are known as dentinal tubules.

  • The Pulp Chamber – Inside of every tooth is a chamber that is filled with soft tissue known as dental pulp. This dental pulp is comprised of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that was essential for the initial formation of the tooth.

Reasons for Pain and Sensitivity from Pressure

The main reason why teeth may be sensitive to pressure concerns the loss of enamel protecting the interior layers of a tooth. Since the dentin is porous, it is more sensitive to pressure exerted on the teeth as well as hot and cold temperatures. This gets more serious if the damage to a tooth extends down into the pulp chamber. Not only will pressure and temperatures trigger pain, the risk of a root canal infection increases.

There are a few common reasons why biting and chewing leads to tooth sensitivity and pain.

Tooth Decay, Fractures, and Acidic Erosion

Major cavities, serious chips and cracks, and the loss of enamel due to acidity in the mouth can expose more of a tooth's dentin. This increases the sensitivity and pain experienced when you bite or chew.

The ideal option for dealing with these issues is to have a dental restoration placed. Fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns help rebuild tooth structure and protect teeth from harm.

Issues with Dental Restorations

Ironically, sometimes your teeth are just fine but the main issue is your dental restorations. When fillings, inlays, onlays, or crowns do not fit properly or are damaged, they can lead to sensitivity when pressure is exerted on your teeth.

The best way to deal with these kinds of problems is to have the old or flawed dental restoration replaced with a new one that fits better.

Poor Dental Alignment

If your teeth are crooked, additional pressure may be placed on certain teeth, resulting in greater sensations of sensitivity or pain when eating foods. Over time, this can wear down the teeth, and cause a great deal of discomfort.

The ideal solution for poor dental alignment is to undergo orthodontic treatment. This will help realign your teeth and enhance overall dental wellness.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding refers to the clenching, shifting, and gnashing of the teeth at night. It is often the result of stress, poor dental alignment, and sometimes the use of certain medications. The gnashing and grinding can result in serious damage to your teeth, and it can lead your teeth to feel sore and sensitive in the morning.

The ideal treatment for teeth grinding tends to involve a combination of therapies put together. This includes orthodontics, the use of a mouth guard, and stress management techniques. We can develop a custom treatment for these issues during a consultation.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care

For more information about improving your overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our team of experienced dentists and prosthodontists today. Our team looks forward to your visit and discussing these matters in much greater detail.

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Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group

50 Staniford St
5th Fl
Boston, MA 02114

Open Today 7:00am - 3:00pm

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