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Montreal Smiles®

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive When I Bite and Chew?

By Roni S. Berbari, DMD on April 13, 2017

A man with a toothacheA sensitive tooth is an annoyance, yet it can also be the sign of a dental health problems. That's the team at Montreal Smiles always takes these issues seriously. By using rstate-of-ther-art restorative dentistry treatments, we can enhance and improve your overall dental wellness.

A number of patients report tooth sensitivity when they bite and chew. Let's take a moment to consider what causes this. First, let's consider the anatomy of a tooth.

The Anatomy of a Tooth

There are three layers to every tooth. They are as follows:

  • The Enamel Layer – The topmost layer of a tooth, enamel is sturdy. In fact, it's one of the hardest substances in the entire human body.

  • The Dentin Layer – The dentin layer of the tooth is just under the enamel layer. It's porous rather than totally solid, and the pores in the dentin are known as dentinal tubules.

  • The Pulp Chamber – In the center of each tooth is a hollow chamber that is filled with a substance known as dental pulp. This pulp is comprised of connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves that were essential for the initial formation and maturation of a tooth.

The Reason Pressure Leads to Dental Pain

In the simplest of terms, any time the tooth enamel is breached or fractures or worn away, it exposes more of the dentin layer. Since the dentin is porous, it sends sensations of pressure as well as hot and cold temperatures to the dental pulp, leading to increased sensitivity and discomfort.

Cavities, Fractures, and Acidic Erosion

When your teeth are damaged, additional pressure from biting or chewing can lead to pronounced sensitivity and dental pain. The ideal option for addressing these issues is to get a dental restoration placed. A filling, inlay, onlay, or crown may be just what you need to have a healthy smile again.

Issues with Dental Restorations

Dental restorations such as fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns can be very helpful, but flaws in restorations can lead to their own problems. A broken restoration or one that does not fit properly can lead to pain and discomfort. The ideal treatment for these issues is having the restoration repaired or replaced.

Problems with Bridgework and Dentures

If you are missing teeth, having a bridge or denture made can help fill the gap left behind and restore your ability to bite and chew. A bridge or denture that doesn't fit right, however, may be placing additional pressure and strain on your teeth. In these situations, the ideal option is to have a new prosthodontic appliance made.

Poor Dental Alignment

When your teeth are crooked, this can lead to excessive stress or pressure placed on certain teeth, which can cause pain and discomfort. To address these issues with pressure-related sensitivity, it's generally a good idea to undergo orthodontic care. Revising dental alignment can alleviate this pressure on the teeth.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding is the gnashing, shifting, and clenching of the teeth during sleep. When this occurs, it places a great deal of stress on the teeth, causing fractures or simply leading to tenderness when you bite down. There are multiple therapies for teeth grinding, though the common thread in each is the use of a bite guard, which is a special retainer worn at night when you are asleep.

Learn More About Tooth Sensitivity

For more information about treating tooth sensitivity and helping you experience great health and wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Montreal Smiles is here to help you achieve total dental wellness.

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