Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Bite Down? Check!


Have you ever bitten into something and felt a sharp, sudden pain in your teeth? This unpleasant sensation can make eating difficult and diminish your quality of life. If you've wondered “Why do my teeth hurt when I bite down?”, you're not alone.

Many people experience tooth sensitivity or pain when biting down. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons why your teeth may hurt when you bite down, discuss possible home remedies to find relief, and talk about treatments you can explore with your dentist. Knowing the likely causes and exploring solutions can help you get back to comfortable eating again.

There are five main reasons “why do my teeth hurt when I bite down” that can lead to pain or discomfort when biting or chewing: dental cavities, cracked teeth, bruxism or teeth grinding, gum recession and loss of enamel, and dental implants or other dental work.

Fortunately, depending on the cause there are things you can try at home, like using sensitivity toothpaste, avoiding certain foods, taking over-the-counter pain medication, and more to find some relief. We’ll go through these potential at-home remedies as well as possible dental treatments that may be required if the problem persists.

By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of the most common causes of pain when biting and what you can do to make eating comfortable again.

What Are The 5 Possible Reasons Of Your Tooth Hurts?

Reasons Of Your Tooth Hurts
  • Dental cavities: Holes or decay in teeth caused by acid-producing bacteria in plaque, leading to pain when biting due to exposure of inner tooth layers.
  • Cracked teeth: Fractures or cracks in teeth from trauma, grinding, or weakened structure, causing pain with temperature changes or pressure due to exposure of internal nerves and tissues.
  • Bruxism or teeth grinding: Unconscious clenching or grinding of teeth during sleep or stress, leading to muscle soreness, headaches, and sensitivity or discomfort while biting from worn-down enamel and exposed nerves.
  • Gum recession and loss of enamel: Gums pulling away from teeth, exposing sensitive root surfaces and dentin, making teeth extremely sensitive to touch, temperature, and pressure due to exposure to vulnerable dental layers.
  • Dental implants or other dental work: Sensitivity or discomfort related to bonding of artificial materials to natural teeth, causing pain when biting due to improper fit or adjustment period for teeth and nerves.

Finding Relief at Home

If you experience occasional or mild tooth sensitivity or pain when biting down, there are several easy home remedies you can try for temporary relief.

  • Use a sensitive toothpaste: Formulas containing active ingredients like strontium chloride or potassium nitrate work by essentially plugging exposed tubules in dentin that lead to nerves. This blocks external stimuli from reaching the nerves and causing discomfort temporarily.
  • Avoid acidic, hot, and cold foods and beverages: Foods high in acid and extremely hot or cold trigger more nerve irritation in sensitive teeth. Avoiding them provides some symptom relief.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication: Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen(Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can temporarily relieve sensitivity and discomfort.
  • Apply desensitizing treatments: Desensitizing toothpastes, rinses, gels, or strips form a barrier over exposed dentin, often providing several hours of sensitivity relief.
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush and brush gently: Rigorous brushing exacerbates the loss of protective enamel and causes more gum recession. Switching to a soft brush and using gentle pressure minimizes further irritation of already sensitive teeth. 

While these at-home methods can provide temporary relief to the question of why my teeth hurt when I bite down, you should still see a dentist promptly if your symptoms persist. An evaluation is needed to identify and properly treat the underlying issue for long-term relief and oral health.

Possible Treatments

Depending on your diagnosis, your dentist may recommend different treatments to address the cause of why do teeth hurt when you bite down.

For dental cavities, common treatments include:

  • Fillings: Remove decayed material and fill holes or fractures with composite resin, porcelain, gold, or other materials to strengthen teeth, relieve pain, and prevent issues from spreading.
  • Root canal: Severe decay exposure in tooth pulp requires pulp removal and disinfecting inside the tooth roots. The roots get sealed with filler material and the visible part of the tooth is repaired with a crown. 

For cracked teeth, your dentist can

  • Perform bonding: Flow bonding material into small cracks then harden with light activation to seal fractures.
  • Place dental crowns: Cover teeth with custom-fitted caps providing full encasement for protection and stabilization.
  • Tooth removal: Non-restorable extensive fractures sometimes necessitate whole tooth removal. Nearby teeth can shift over time after extraction sites heal fully.

Also Read: Teeth Bonding: What You Know About Its Benefits?


If you are wondering - why do teeth hurt when I bite down, you are certainly not alone. Many people deal with tooth sensitivity and pain caused by issues like dental cavities, cracked teeth, excessive grinding, gum recession, or dental work.

The five most common culprits behind dental sensitivity that hurts teeth when biting down include dental cavities eroding tooth enamel, cracks in tooth structure, bruxism wearing down tooth enamel, gum recession and loss of protective enamel, and sensitivity to dental implants or other dental work. 

If you experience ongoing or severe tooth pain when eating or chewing, don’t wait to see your dentist. Finding and properly treating issues early on gives the best chance of simple, cost-effective solutions without extensive dental work required.

Getting evaluated quickly can help diagnose problems before they worsen and relieve the source of discomfort for good. Can you now bite comfortably without pain? With evaluation and treatment from your dentist - the answer can be yes!

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Dr. Philipp Jefferson is a practicing dentist with over 20 years of experience treating patients and specializing in restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures. He earned his DDS from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where he graduated with honors. Dr. Thomas is an active member of the American Dental Association and his local dental society.

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