Are Bite Problems Causing Your Toothaches?

Boutique Dentistry for Nashville, Tennessee

Do you get annoying toothaches that your regular dentist can’t track down? It’s quite possible that the cause of your toothache isn’t the tooth at all. It could be problems with your bite.

When your regular dentist can’t get you relief from your toothaches, expert Nashville neuromuscular dentist Dr. Kent E. White can help. He has the insight and experience to track down your bite problems to determine whether they’re the cause of your toothaches.

Are Bite Problems Causing Your Toothaches?

Always Consider Tooth-Related Causes

It should go without saying, but it’s important to consider all the potential causes related to your teeth.

Usually, cavities cause toothaches. Get a thorough checkup, including x-rays of the tooth or teeth that are causing your trouble. But if your regular dentist can’t find anything, it’s worth getting a second opinion–some cavities can be hard to find.

Cavities can develop around old fillings and even under dental crowns. These can take a thorough exam to find. Inexperienced, inexpert, or lax dentists may not be looking in the right place to find these cavities.

In fact, sometimes these old restorations may be the cause of your problems. Metal amalgam fillings can cause sensitivity in your teeth related to temperature or pressure. Old crowns may not be fitted properly, putting pressure on the tooth they cover or the tooth they oppose.

Problems with bad fillings or crowns often interact with a bad bite to create pain.

Next, Check the Timing

One of the best ways to link toothaches with jaw tension is to check the timing. Bite problems lead to toothaches when your jaw tension is high, which means that your toothache might occur when you:

  • Experience high stress
  • Eat a chewy meal or snack
  • Talk more than usual
  • Exercise
  • Wake up

For many of us, psychological stress turns into physical stress in our jaw. We clench or grind our teeth when we feel stressed, and this can cause toothaches. When we chew something that is harder than normal, especially if we chew excessively–such as chewing gum–our teeth bear the brunt of the force, which can cause toothaches. Talking doesn’t seem like it should cause toothaches, but it can, because it can stress the jaw.

And no matter what kind of exercise you’re doing, your jaw actually plays a critical role. It help stabilize and strengthen your core, so when you’re pushing other muscles, you’re stressing your jaw, too. And you may not know that you’re stressing your teeth at night, but many people clench and grind while they sleep.

How Jaw Tension Can Cause Tooth Pain

The basic problem with jaw tension is that it can put excessive pressure on your teeth. And if your bite is imbalanced, one or two teeth might be taking most of the force. This can lead to pain.

You see, your teeth might seem really hard, but the amazing thing about them is that they’re designed to flex. They actually squish in response to your bite force. This squishing puts pressure on the nerves inside the tooth, which causes pain. Really hard pressure triggers inflammation (swelling), and when the pulp inside the tooth swells, there’s no place for it to go, so it feels even more pressure, which causes toothaches that last long after the tension has been released.

In addition, the flexing of the tooth can cause the hard outer part of the tooth–the enamel–to flake off where it’s thinnest–the neck of the tooth, near the gums. Small fragments of enamel can get into your gums and irritate them. It can even lead to receding gums. And once your gums recede from around the tooth, the tooth root is exposed, which makes the tooth more sensitive.

Treat Jaw Tension to Reduce Tooth Pain

If your tooth pain is linked to jaw tension, it will never go away until we resolve the tension. Using neuromuscular diagnostics, such as T-Scan bite measurements, we can identify the teeth that are experiencing greater tension than they should. This can help us determine whether the cause is related to a single tooth because of a poorly placed crown or filling. But it can also help us tell whether your entire bite is imbalanced.

Once we have determined that your bite is imbalanced, we can identify the cause, including TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). When we treat your TMJ, you might notice that other linked symptoms might go away, too, including headaches and jaw pain.

If you have toothaches related to jaw tension, it’s important to get it treated. The jaw problem is likely causing damage to your teeth and to your jaw structure.

To learn whether jaw tension is responsible for your hard-to-treat toothaches, please call (615) 383-6787 today for an appointment with Nashville neuromuscular dentist Dr. Kent E. White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry.