Sensitivity to biting can take several forms and can be caused by several factors. Most of the time, the whole tooth is sensitive to any pressure on it, but there are a couple of special cases, also.
- Sensitivity to any pressure on the tooth can come from several sources:
- The tooth could be infected to the point that the infection has spread to the bone. Endodontic treatment of the tooth may be required.
- The tooth could be suffering from a temporary injury and may need a week or two to recover.
- The tooth could have a new restoration that needs to be adjusted to your bite.
- The tooth could be occasionally sensitive, depending on how you bite on the tooth. This is a classic symptom of a cracked tooth, which, if it is caught early enough, may be fixed either with a bonded filling or some type of crown. It can also be a symptom of a bite that is out of adjustment because a new crown or some other dental work has been placed.
- The tooth could be sensitive only when you are chewing and hit a certain place in the middle of the tooth. This is a very peculiar type of sensitivity that seems to come from certain recently-done white composite fillings. There are several theories as to why it occurs. The most plausible theory seems to be that there are bubbles that form at the interface where the filling is bonded to the tooth, and that when these bubbles compress under chewing pressure, there is pain. Usually, if this is the cause, replacing the filling will solve it. The sensitivity is particularly annoying as it can take several months for it to go away on its own. For more discussion on this type of sensitivity, please see our page entitled My new fillings hurt.
—Dr. David Hall
The technique for doing white composite fillings on back teeth is difficult. Many family dentists aren’t properly trained to do this. For referral to a dentist who has the proper training for placing these white composite fillings, please see our referral page.
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