Pain is a biological response and it’s a sensory trigger to indicate, “something is wrong and requires immediate attention.” In dentistry, this nerve pain is often noticed when a person bites into his/her food. It’s a reactive pain and originates from inside one’s teeth.
The question then becomes, “Why do my teeth hurt when I eat?”
In general, the answer is dependent on the stimuli.
Symptom #1: Pain While Chewing
Sitting down and biting into an apple seems easy enough right? Well, what if it was followed by a sharp burst of pain emanating from the inside of your teeth?
This is a common cause for pain.
This pain may be mild/severe and come from your lower/upper teeth.
- Loose Filling(s)
- Tooth Decay
- Cracked Tooth
The pain may involve one or two of these causes depending on the patient’s dental history.
To resolve this problem, please take the time to speak with your dentist and receive a comprehensive examination. All of these dental concerns can be addressed with the assistance of a certified dental professional. Early action can prevent additional damage to your teeth.
Symptom #2: Sensitivity (Temperature)
This symptom involves a momentary burst of pain upon contact with hot/cold food and beverages. The severity of one’s pain will fluctuate.
What causes this?
- Loose Filling(s)
- Early Stages of Tooth Decay
- Exposed Root (Gum Recession, Abrasion)
It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene to monitor bacterial plaque buildup. This involves brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush (twice a day). If necessary, use toothpaste for sensitive teeth and rub it on the teeth for 5-10 minutes. For additional solutions, speak to a dentist and receive appropriate treatment.
Symptom #3: Sensitivity (Dental Treatment)
Had dental work done recently? This can cause temporary inflammation.
In most cases, the dentist will mention potential side effects in advance to warn patients. With modern advancements in dentistry, these side effects are rare or short-lived. For more information, please speak with the acting dental professional to see whether or not your sensitivity is related to the treatment.
List of Treatments:
The list is endless and it’s imperative to speak to a dentist about this ongoing sensitivity as it may require additional work at the clinic. In general, the pain will subside after 2-3 days and OTC pain relievers offer relief from any short-term discomfort you may have. If necessary, stronger painkillers are prescribed by the dentist upon examination (rare!) to alleviate symptoms.
Symptom #4: Dull Ache In Upper Teeth
This pain will vary depending on the patient’s dental condition. In most cases, it may be related to sinus trouble since the roots of one’s upper teeth are in close proximity to the maxillary sinus cavity. Therefore, pain in one usually means referred pain in the other.
Additional causes include:
- Grinding of Your Teeth
- Regular Clenching of Jaw
These symptoms are not to be taken lightly. The dull ache will remain until treatment is sought whether it’s sinus-related or involves grinding. Visiting a family physician is a good idea if the pain appears to involve the sinus cavity. If not, the dentist will offer a personalized solution for your grinding/clenching predicament to eliminate pain.
Symptom #5: On and Off Pain After Eating Meal
This symptom requires patience to assess and it will vary from patient to patient. In most cases, the lingering pain comes from tooth damage or decay and shouldn’t remain untreated for too long. If left untreated, it will only worsen to the point of irreversible damage.
Preventative measures are ideal for this symptom especially if the pain isn’t severe. Once the bacteria build up, they will lead to a problematic abscess. In this case, the only solution is root canal treatment to remove dead pulp. This helps restore the tooth and bring it back to a healthier state.
Cause #6: Unrelenting Pain
This pain (mild or severe) is often a sign of a lingering acute infection. Treating it is of utmost importance before the symptoms worsen. If the tooth is left untreated, it will die out. In general, once the tooth dies, it will turn into a painful abscess (bacterial pocket). In such cases, the infection may get into the bloodstream and cause life-threatening damage.
Dentists offer multiple solutions including root canal treatment, painkillers, and/or antibiotics depending on the infection. The goal is to isolate and remove it before additional damage occurs.
This unrelenting pain is often preceded by some of the earlier stages (lingering pain, temporary pain, sensitivity). It’s best to stay alert and not let the pain get out of control.
Please note, all listed causes and solutions require further assessment based on your specific symptoms. It’s important to avoid guessing since the dentist will have a better understanding of your dental history and can examine the teeth in detail. This information is not a replacement for direct medical assistance or suitable treatments.