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Why Chewing Can Cause Tooth Sensitivity

By Dr. Silvers on January 31, 2017


A woman with a toothacheHere at Silvers Family Dental Care, we believe in providing every patient at the practice with exceptional dental care. We are a leader in the Harrisburg for advanced restorative dentistry that improves heath without ignoring aesthetics.

Sometimes patients come to our practice complaining of tooth sensitivity while they chew. Let's take a moment to consider the causes and some treatment options.

The Structure of a Tooth

To understand why your teeth may feel sensitive when biting or chewing, it's important to consider the general anatomy of a tooth. There are, broadly speaking, three parts to consider, each a layer of tooth structure:

  • The topmost layer of tooth is comprised of enamel. Enamel is one of the hardest substances in the human body.

  • Beneath the enamel of the tooth is a porous layer of structure known as dentin. The pores in the dentin are known as dentinal tubules.

  • The center of the tooth is hollow and referred to as the pulp chamber. Inside of the pulp chamber is soft tissue known as dental pulp. Comprised of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue, dental pulp was essential for the initial formation of a tooth.

If your teeth become sensitive when you bit or chew, it typically means that the enamel layer of the tooth has been compromised in some way. This heightens tooth sensitivity to pressure as well as hot and cold temperatures.

Severe Tooth Decay

Serious tooth decay and tooth damage results in more of a tooth structure becoming weakened and compromised. This often lead to toothaches of various kinds, as well as heightened tooth sensitivity.

The best option for treating these problems is the use of dental restorations, such as fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns.

Chips, Cracks, and Fractures

Like tooth decay, fractures of various kinds can lead to greater exposure of the dentin of the teeth. This means chips, cracks, and major fractures that affect a tooth's general structure.

Like tooth decay, the ideal option for treating these problems and relieving tooth sensitivity is the use of dental restorations, such as fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns.

Poor Dental Alignment

It may surprise you to learn this, but poor dental alignment can cause your teeth to become sore over time. The pressure exerted on the teeth may be such that it wears down enamel, of places more stress on certain teeth than others. The result is sensitivity and pain when you bite and chew.

The ideal option for these matters is to undergo orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic care will improve dental alignment and distribute pressure along the dental arch, alleviating pain and discomfort.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding is the clenching and shifting of the teeth while asleep. Over time, this can lead to worn tooth enamel, fractures to a tooth, and major pressure exerted on the teeth. This all contributes to tooth sensitivity.

Treating teeth grinding will typically involve the use of a bite guard worn during sleep, orthodontic care, and stress management techniques.

Issues with Dental Restorations

Finally, there is a chance your teeth are sensitive because of issues with your dental restorations. When fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns are poorly fit, they can lead to serious pain when biting even soft foods.

The best option for issues related to restorations is the replacement of the problem dental restorations.

Contact Silvers Family Dental Care

For more information about treating tooth sensitivity and helping you have the healthiest smile possible, be sure to contact our team of cosmetic and restorative dentists today. The entire team at Silvers Family Dental Care will help you have a healthy and beautiful smile.

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