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Why Are My Teeth Sensitive When I Chew?

By William Stofer on February 24, 2017


A woman with a toothachePain is nothing to take lightly. Some people experience serious pain or discomfort when they bite and chew. Even a bit of soft bread can give them trouble. If you experience serious pain or discomfort when you bite or chew, it's a good idea for you to get the problem looked at as soon as possible.

The team at our restorative dentistry center serving Warsaw would like to consider some of the common reasons why people experience tooth sensitivity when they bite and chew.

The Anatomy of a Tooth

To understand why teeth may feel sensitive when pressure is exerted on them, it's important to consider the anatomy of a tooth.

Let's start with the teeth and gums first. The topmost visible portion of a tooth is known as the crown. The portion of a tooth that is located beneath the gumline is known as the root of the tooth. The root is embedded along the jawbone for stability.

As for the tooth's anatomy, there are three layers to consider:

  • Tooth Enamel – The topmost layer of a tooth is comprised of enamel, which is one of the hardest substances in the human body.

  • Dentin – Beneath the enamel is a substance known as dentin. Dentin is porous, and the pores in the dentin are known as dentinal tubules.

  • Pulp Chamber/Dental Pulp – The inside of a tooth is hollow, believe it or not. This chamber inside of the tooth is filled with a substance known as dental pulp. The dental pulp is comprised of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that was essential for the initial formation of a tooth.

Sensitivity from Tooth Decay and Injury

When tooth decay or dental injuries compromise the enamel layer of a tooth, it exposes more of the dentin layer of the tooth. Since the dentin is porous and leads to the pulp within the tooth, pressure exerted on the tooth tends to be a great source of pain and discomfort.

The Effects of Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding is the gnashing, clenching, and grinding of the teeth that occurs when a person is asleep. As the teeth press against each other, it can cause serious wear and tear, including fractures. The constant pressure on the teeth can lead your teeth to feel especially uncomfortable, even when chewing on soft foods. The use of a bite guard as well as various other therapies can help alleviate teeth grinding.

Damaged or Uncomfortable Dental Restorations

If you have a filling, inlay, onlay, or crown that doesn't fit right, it can exert pressure on the tooth enamel and dentin. The ideal way to address these problems is to have the problematic restoration replaced with one that first better.

Poor Dental Alignment Can Lead to Tooth Sensitivity

When your teeth are not properly aligned, it can lead to a host of issues. One of these problems has to do with the way pressure is distributed from tooth to tooth. Certain teeth may have more pressure placed upon them, making it uncomfortable to bite and chew. Improving dental alignment can ease the pain and sensitivity related to biting and chewing.

Learn More About Your Dental Care Options

For more information about tooth sensitivity, dental pain, toothaches, and your options for treatment, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at our practice is here to help you achieve total wellness and a beautiful smile.

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