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Tooth Sensitivity and Chewing: Can My Dental Pain Be Alleviated?

By Andrew Mortensen, DDS on October 03, 2016

A woman with healthy looking teeth undergoing a dental examTooth sensitivity when chewing is often one of the first indicators of an oral health problem and should not be ignored. Restorative dentistry treatment can address the underlying cause of tooth sensitivity when chewing, providing relief from dental pain. During dental examinations, Dr. Andrew G. Mortensen evaluates tooth sensitivity and chewing to provide the most suitable treatment. Contact our Fountain Valley, CA practice to find out which treatments are right for you. 

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity When Chewing?

Tooth sensitivity, which can refer to a sudden, sometimes sharp pain felt in the teeth, is a common sign of dental health problems, especially when felt while chewing. There are many possible reasons why tooth sensitivity may occur when chewing, including:

  • Fractured tooth: A fractured tooth can cause pain when chewing as a result of a damaged or loose portion of the tooth pressing on the tooth's nerve. Tooth sensitivity may also occur from a fractured tooth if the tooth's nerve becomes exposed.
  • Root canal infection: A root canal infection is a bacterial infection of the nerve, pulp tissue, and blood vessels housed within the tooth. Root canal infections are extremely painful because they directly impact the tooth's nerve, which regulates dental sensitivity. Root canal infections may lead to constant, throbbing pain, or may only hurt when pressure is applied to the damaged tooth.
  • Abscess: An untreated root canal infection or advanced gum disease can lead to the formation of an abscess around a tooth's roots. Abscesses are painful, pus-filled pockets that often hurt when chewing and can cause the face or jaw to swell.
  • Loose filling: A loose, lost, or damaged filling can also cause tooth sensitivity when chewing. Dental pain may occur as a result of the filling pressing on the tooth's nerve or from allowing bacteria and foods to access the tooth's nerve.
  • Tooth decay: Untreated tooth decay and dental cavities are another common cause of tooth sensitivity when chewing.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity When Chewing

The first step to treating tooth sensitivity when chewing is to determine the underlying cause. A thorough dental exam can help pinpoint the cause of tooth sensitivity so the appropriate treatment may be performed, such as:

  • Root canal therapy: Tooth sensitivity caused by root canal infections often benefit from root canal therapy. During root canal therapy, the infected tissues are removed from the tooth, including the damaged nerve, and the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. 
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be combined with periodontal treatment, like root planing and scaling, or endodontic treatments, like root canal therapy, to treat abscesses and other oral infections. 
  • Dental fillings: Old fillings or new cavities can be treated with tooth-colored dental fillings to restore dental structure, health, and appearance.
  • Dental crowns: Damaged, fractured teeth can be restored with dental crowns. Dental crowns encapsulate damaged teeth to protect the dental structure and alleviate pain when chewing.
  • Dental extraction: Unfortunately, some teeth may be too damaged to save with the above treatments and may require extraction to restore oral health. If extraction is needed, there are many options for restoring missing teeth, like dental implant treatment.

Find Out Which Treatments Are Right for You

To find out which treatments are right for your needs, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mortensen.

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I am proud to have served patients in our community. Through continuing education and state-of-the-art equipment, we are able to offer you and your family the high level of care you're looking for. Andrew G. Mortensen, D.D.S.

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Fountain Valley Office

18837 Brookhurst St
Ste 109
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Open Today 7:30am - 4:30pm

More Info Directions (714) 964-4183