You May Be Experiencing Tooth Pain Pain for a Few Simple Reasons — Here Are Your Options

Even though your dentist is probably looking forward to seeing you, these issues may be causing all the tooth pain that's been bothering you.

Kori Williams - Author

May 14 2024, Published 5:30 p.m. ET

A woman in her kitchen in front of her laptop. She's in pain after biting into an apple.
Source: iStock

It happens to the best of us. One day, we're just eating our favorite foods, and the next, those same foods betray us. Now we're wincing in pain. Although this issue may seem to come out of nowhere, there may be a few reasons this happens.

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When you have a toothache, it's always important to consult your dentist just to be on the safe side. Once you ensure there's nothing more serious going on, you may be left to wonder why your tooth hurts when you bite down. Luckily, there may be some simple explanations.

A woman putting a pink and red heart-patterned ice pack against her cheek because of a toothache.
Source: iStock
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Why does my back tooth hurt when I bite down?

According to Main Dentistry, one simple reason your back tooth may be hurting is that the pressure from biting down has caused a tooth's nerve endings to react. To help you deal with this, you can use an ice pack or rinse with warm saline to lower inflammation for temporary relief.

Additionally, Parkdale Dental says that tooth pain can be caused by sinus inflammation. Although the back teeth are more likely to be affected when this is the case, the front teeth can also hurt, however, the lower teeth will not hurt in this instance. As always, if you have concerns about your tooth pain, it's best to consult a dentist first — but developing a few hypotheses about why the tooth pain is occurring isn't unreasonable.

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A man sitting a home in his living room with a toothache.
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Healthline also suggests tooth pain is caused by malocclusion. Malocclusion is when your teeth don't fit together well in your mouth, causing pain and wear on your teeth. To fix this, you will have to speak to your dentist about seeing a specialist, such as an orthodontist, for correction and relief.

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Why does my front tooth hurt when I bite down?

Although there's not much that would specifically hurt your front teeth that you should put off seeing a dentist about, you might have cracked one of them and not realized it. Healthline mentions that you can notice this when you only feel a sharp pain when you bite down. The pain subsides as soon as you release your jaw. Receding gums, a type of Periodontal disease, may also be to blame.

A woman sitting at home holding her cheek because of tooth pain.
Source: iStock
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If you have tooth pain, you may have a cavity, because cavities start small and progressively worsen. The Mayo Clinic states that acids from bacteria in your mouth can eat away at the enamel. Eventually, the bacteria can reach the inner layers of your tooth which causes pain. However, you are more likely to get a cavity in your back teeth since they have more grooves and places for bacteria to be trapped.

While avoiding cavities may seem impossible, there are some risk factors to be aware of. Mayo Clinic says some foods including, dry cereal, hard candies, cake, and more stick to your teeth more and make it more likely to trap bacteria. And if you snack often, that is more opportunity for food to stick to your teeth.

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A man at the dentist because of tooth pain.
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According to Very Well Health, it's time to see the dentist when:

  • You have discomfort for more than two days.
  • You experience swelling.
  • Pain meds aren't helping you.
  • You have a fever.
  • Your gums are bright red.

Unfortunately, these symptoms could be signs of a more serious issue that you need to get checked out sooner rather than later.

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