Do you feel that sharp pain whenever you’re biting down on food? It could be caused by tooth decay, a crack in the tooth, a loose filling or damage inside the tooth (usually the pulp tissue). In these cases, the dentist might perform a tooth extraction or a root canal procedure (where the infected pulp is cleaned out).
It’s important to visit the dentist right away if you’re experiencing that pain. There’s no reason for you to endure that unpleasant experience and the pain might make it really hard for you to fall asleep. Also, the pain might get worse and enduring (sharp pain going on for the whole night). Also note that the infection might be causing the pain which is why you have to deal with the problem quickly.
Why do my teeth hurt when I bite
The pain source is often internal because of the infected pulp tissue. After all, the body’s response to infection is often inflammation where blood flow is increased to the area. This stimulates the nerves which we feel as pain. It’s a good way of signalling us that there’s something wrong because of that sharp pain.
However, there are times when signs are ignored because we’re too busy or we think that going to the dentist is inconvenient. Many times too that the pain goes away and we cancel the appointment instead of getting it over with. Some experience dental anxiety and they want to avoid sitting in that dreadful dental chair as much as possible (or delay the visit as long as they can).
Those are valid fears and concerns. However, microorganisms work 24/7 and the pulp tissue would get infected more or they would erode more of the tooth’s protective enamel. In other words, it’s not the pain you should be worried about but the infection and damage to your teeth. The pain is just there to tell you something is not right. Pain relievers might do the trick for a while but it’s not a permanent solution. What we need is to go to the root cause to get rid of the pain and stop the infection.
About severe pain and sensitivity
That occasional sharp pain may progress into an abscess where even a slight touch triggers the most unimaginable pain. In tooth abscess, often the bacteria invade the dental pulp. It’s a pocket of pus that is unsightly and potentially dangerous. Often, the pain can be felt to the jawbone, neck and ear because of the swelling and infection. This is considered an emergency because the infection could spread to your jaw, head, neck and the rest of your body which could lead to sepsis (life-threatening and could lead to damage of several multiple organs).
It’s serious and urgent even though it’s just a single tooth. After all, the human body is an integrated system wherein when one is out of line, the entire body often reacts. It’s especially the case with our teeth and gums where there are blood vessels that could facilitate the spread of bacteria and infection.
What could the dentist do
It starts with a quick and thorough assessment to figure out the root cause. Then, extraction, root canal or other procedure might be performed to remove the infection and save the rest of your teeth. Urgent action is crucial here because bacteria multiply fast and they can spread to the nearby teeth and gums. Microorganisms are opportunistic and whenever there’s food and safe habitat, they will multiply and spread as fast as they can.
After the treatment, the dentist may also advise preventive measures including using a fluoridated mouth rinse for an extra layer of protection. This is to prevent tooth decay (which provides points of entry to bacteria to the teeth’s interior). When the teeth is damaged (cracks and small holes), bacteria can easily enter and because they’re now beyond the reach of floss and toothbrush, they could then thrive and multiply (plus produce acids that will erode your teeth’s structure).
It’s important to visit the dentist even if it’s just momentary pain or sensitivity. Keep in mind that your body is telling you something and you should act quickly before it gets any worse. For example, even if it’s just momentary sensitivity (i.e. the discomfort goes away fast) to cold or hot foods, it could mean there’s a loose filling or there’s minor tooth decay. That little damage could actually introduce good sites for bacteria to thrive and multiply. It starts with momentary pain but as the weeks go by the pain lasts longer and they’re becoming extreme. There comes a time when the pain will literally force you to visit the dentist.
Don’t wait for that to happen. Momentary sensitivity could progress to excruciating pain. In addition, momentary sensitivity and pain also tells you that your teeth are already damaged. Whether it’s a minor or major damage, it spells opportunity for bacteria to enter and infect the interior pulp tissue. But with proactive prevention and a regular visit to the dentist, you will actually be spared from most of the pain and inconvenience.
Visiting the dentist and taking excellent care of your health actually pays off. That’s because you actually avoid costly procedures and you minimise the interruptions to your career or business. For example, what if you felt that sudden unimaginable pain during an important interview or a business meeting? You will miss the opportunity and could even affect your entire life’s trajectory.
A quick visit to the dentist can help you avoid that. With a prompt dental treatment plus regular prevention of tooth decay and gum disease, you could better focus on your personal, social and professional life.