There are lots of common symptoms in Dentistry. From an unprovoked toothache to cold sensitivity to biting pain, your Kitchener Dentist will have the ability to interpret them all. This typically leads to a diagnosis and treatment, where necessary. Sometimes, we get lucky and no invasive treatment is necessary. Other times, your Family Dentist will recommend a course of action to provide relief.
Biting pain is something that I see a lot of at my office. Sometimes it subsides without intervention. However, in some cases treatment can prevent a serious problem. Importantly, there are different types of biting pain and each indicates that a different problem is present. Below, I will share information to help you understand biting pain and related symptoms. Again, the information is meant to supplement a thorough discussion with your Kitchener Dentist. If you are experiencing pain on biting, please call your Family Dentist to arrange an appointment.
Types of Biting Pain & Solutions Provided by Your Kitchener Dentist
Biting pain can arise spontaneously. It can also arise for a short period of time after dental treatment. My goal is to examine biting pain that arises spontaneously and is, therefore, more likely to indicate presence of a problem. So, what are common types of biting pain that people experience?
- Dull Pain on Biting. What do I mean by dull pain? Dull pain on biting feels like you are pushing on a bruised area. The pain is typically felt deep in the jaw directly under one or more teeth. Sometimes it can be localized to a single tooth. Sometimes this pain comes with radiating pain through the jaw or up to the temple. Typically, the patient will feel pain only on the side of the symptomatic tooth.
- Sharp Pain on Biting. This type of pain involves what feels like a “twinge” or “electric shock” upon biting. Some patients describe it as a very concentrated or “piercing” pain. Typically, patients will learn to avoid biting on the affected tooth after 1-2 “jolts”.
Causes of Biting Pain
Dull biting pain can arise for a few reasons:
- Abscess/Infection. An abscess is a deep space infection originating from the root of your tooth. On an x-ray, this appears as a dark shadow around the tooth root. Antibiotics provide temporary relief. Root canal treatment or tooth extraction provide long-term relief.
- Abscess/Infection. An abscess is a deep space infection originating from the root of your tooth. On an x-ray, this appears as a dark shadow around the tooth root. Antibiotics provide temporary relief. Root canal treatment or tooth extraction provide long-term relief. Typically, a crown will be placed following root canal treatment to reinforce your tooth. This dramatically improves longevity of your tooth.
- Tooth Trauma/Tooth Grinding. Tooth trauma includes any excessive force absorbed by a tooth. This can involve biting down on an unexpected piece of bone in your soup. It can involve biting hard on a fork with your front tooth. Sometimes, it takes the form of a sports injury (think softball or puck trauma around the face). Certainly, the most common form of tooth trauma occurs during night time tooth grinding. Any excessive force has the ability to loosen a tooth and to make it sensitive to biting pressure. Sometimes the tooth will heal and return to its normal, pre-trauma form. Other times, a splint can help to minimize forces on the healing tooth. Where grinding is a contributing factor, a night guard can help to provide relief.
Sharp biting pain can also arise for different reasons:
- “Cracked Tooth Syndrome”. This term refers to symptoms associated with having a cracked tooth. The most common symptom is sharp, piercing pain on biting. If the crack is severe, it will take very little pressure to elicit pain. Mild-moderate cracks may be painful only when biting with heavy force. A cracked tooth can also bring about an unprovoked ache or throbbing. Predicting the long-term survival of cracked teeth is very difficult. Sometimes, a root canal treatment followed by dental crown placement will provide relief. In other cases, the tooth does not respond favourably to treatment and eventually requires extraction.
- Dentin Exposure. As I described in my article on Cold Sensitivity, Dentin is the tooth layer underneath the outer enamel shell. Dentin has nerve supply from the dental pulp and can be hyper-responsive to cold stimuli and pressure. If enamel is worn off a portion of your tooth (this is very common among people who grind their teeth), chewing food in that area can cause sharp pain. Sometimes, anti-sensitivity toothpaste like Sensodyne will work wonders. Other times, it is necessary to seal the dentin surfaces with a sealant or filling material.
If you are suffering through biting pain, call your Kitchener Dentist for an appointment. Careful diagnosis will provide a proper solution to bring you relief. Again, the information above is meant to supplement a thorough discussion with your Family Dentist. I hope that you will find this article helpful.
Thank you for reading.
Written by Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a dental condition or treatment.