Tooth Sensitivity and Chewing: What Is the Connection?

Mar 22, 2017 @ 01:00 PM — by Lauren Shanard

A woman with a toothacheThe team at our Williston restorative dentistry center knows that minor problems can become more serious if they are not treated in a timely fashion. This is why we encourage our patients to discuss their concerns with us, no matter how small they may be. Sensitive teeth, dry mouth, and bleeding gums may not seem like much, but they could all be signs of major dental health issues.

With that in mind, let's consider why your teeth may be sensitive while you're eating. To understand why your teeth may be more sensitive when you bite or chew, let's first consider the basic anatomy of a tooth.

The Anatomy of a Tooth

There are three basic layers to every tooth:

  • Enamel - The topmost layer of a tooth, enamel is one of the hardest substances in the entire body.

  • Dentin - The next layer of a tooth, dentin is durable yet porous. The pores in the dentin are known as dentinal tubules.

  • The Pulp Chamber - The hollow center of the tooth, this chamber is filled with a substance known as dental pulp. The dental pulp is comprised of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels, all of which were essential for the initial formation and nourishment of the tooth.

Pressure and Increased Sensitivity

As the enamel of the teeth is worn down or compromised, it exposes more of the underlying dentin of a tooth. Since the dentin is porous, it is much more sensitive to pressure and to temperatures. If there is a problem with your tooth structure that wears on your teeth, you will often notice increased sensitivity to pressure, even from simple biting and chewing.

There are many potential causes of sensitivity when chewing. Let's look at some of the most common ones and how they can be remedied.

Serious Tooth Decay or Fractures

When a tooth is damaged as a result of a chip, crack, major fracture, or decay, this compromises the enamel exposes more of the dentin layer. This makes teeth more sensitive to pressure as well as temperature. Acidic erosion of the tooth enamel can also lead to issues with sensitivity and pain as you bite and chew.

The ideal treatment for these issues is the use of dental restorations, such as fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns. These restorative dentistry solutions can be customized to your needs.

Issues with Fillings and Restorations

When fillings and other kinds of dental restorations do not fit properly, they can place a great deal of pressure on the teeth. Sometimes biting down or chewing, even on soft foods, can be quite painful because of an issue with a dental restoration.

The best option for relieving pain and sensitivity in these situations is to replace the old dental restorations with ones that fit better. The latest scanning and fabrication techniques can be used to craft these new restorations.

Poor Dental Alignment

Crooked teeth and general malocclusion can cause so many serious issues with your dental health. One problem is that pressure along the teeth may be concentrated to certain parts of the mouth rather than evenly distributed. This can lead to sensitivity and pain, as well as an increased risk of other dental problems, such as gum recession and teeth grinding (bruxism).

The ideal option for addressing poor dental alignment is to undergo orthodontic treatment. Using braces or other kinds of orthodontic procedures can help you achieve an optimal alignment and improve your overall wellness in the process.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care

For more information about tooth sensitivity and how it can be remedied, be sure to contact our advanced dental care center today. The team at our practice will work with you to restore the health and beauty of your smile.

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