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Causes of Pain While Chewing

Posted on 3/15/2024 by Janice K. Pliszczak, DDS
A person holding their jaw in painChewing should be a seamless experience, allowing you to enjoy food and nourish your body. But sometimes, this seemingly simple act can be overshadowed by pain. If you have ever experienced discomfort while chewing, you are not alone. Fortunately, understanding the potential causes can empower you to seek solutions and get back to pain-free enjoyment.

Dental Occlusion

The alignment of your teeth, known as dental occlusion, is crucial in how you bite and chew. Sometimes, a tooth, crown, or filling may be positioned too high, disrupting the natural balance of your bite. This imbalance can result in discomfort and pain, especially after dental procedures when the anesthesia wears off.

Tooth Decay and Cavity Sensitivity

Tooth decay, often indicated by cavities, can lead to persistent toothaches and chewing sensitivity. When cavities become large, they can trap food particles and put pressure on the affected tooth, causing pain, especially after consuming sugary or sticky foods. If the decay reaches the inner pulp of the tooth, it can result in sharp flare-ups of pain with every bite or chew. It is important to note that not all cavities cause pain, which highlights the necessity of regular dental check-ups to detect and treat early signs of decay.

Dental Abscess

Pain while applying pressure to a specific tooth may indicate the presence of a dental abscess or a cracked tooth. Abscesses, characterized by swelling around the tooth root, can cause intermittent pain and drainage. Treatment often involves root canal therapy to preserve the affected tooth.

Gum Recession

Gum recession exposes tooth roots, making them susceptible to sharp pain when applying pressure during chewing. Aggressive brushing, gum disease, and trauma contribute to gum recession and root exposure.

Sinus Congestion

Surprisingly, tooth pain while chewing may stem from sinus pressure or congestion rather than dental issues. Inflamed sinuses, particularly near the molars and premolars, can cause sensitivity and discomfort when biting down.
Regular check-ups, oral hygiene, and treatment of issues are essential for oral health. If you have persistent pain while chewing, consult our dentist to address the cause and restore comfort.

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