Trouble Eating Difficulty Chewing
People having difficulty chewing could have several culprits to blame. Chewing issues are typically traced to a change in the facia or jaw muscle, bone, or tissue structures. Regardless of the source being behavioral or medical, other symptoms often accompany the problem that can shed light on the cause. Whatever the cause, patients should promptly consult a medical professional should any challenges arise with chewing or swallowing.
Common Reasons for Pain When Chewing
- Tooth Decay or Cavity: If teeth sensitivity or a toothache occurs after eating, a cavity could be to blame. Sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweets can all occur with a cavity and if large enough, food particles could get trapped in them causing additional pressure and pain. Because tooth decay can irritate the inner tooth pulp (nerves), painful flare-ups can occur when chewing, biting, or putting food in the mouth. Cavities are typically treated with dental fillings.
- Dental Abscess: If painful when applying pressure to a specific tooth, an abscess could have formed around the root. This cyst or swelling inside the bone causes pressure against the tooth leading to pain when pushing down or biting on it. Abscess swelling and drainage may come and go with symptoms being unnoticeable on some days. Typically, a root canal is the best course of action for treating an abscessed tooth.
- Cracked Tooth: Often, a cracked tooth will not be visible and present no obvious symptoms beyond pain when biting down on it. In fact, hairline fractures may not even be detectable on an X-ray and special testing and diagnosis will be needed to determine if the tooth is actually cracked. Patients experiencing a toothache after eating should try to determine if it originates from a specific area. A bit stick could be used to apply pressure in specific points to help rule out a root fracture. Minor tooth cracks could be repaired with dental bonding but more severe cases could require a dental crown to completely cover the damaged tooth.
- Periodontal Disease: In addition to the condition of the teeth, gum health should be considered if experiencing pain when biting. A dentist can examine the spacing and attachment levels between each tooth. Based on the extent of tissue detachment, patients may also experience swollen or bleeding bums, exposed tooth roots, spaces between the teeth, sensitivity, loose teeth, and tartar build-up. If addressed in its earliest stages, periodontal disease can be reversed with a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing.
- Receding Gums: As periodontal disease progresses, gum recession can occur. While not painful itself, gum recession can lead to discomfort and sensitivity if pressure is applied to an exposed tooth root. A sharp pain in the specific tooth can occur when food or beverages come into contact with the root. Receding gums can also be caused by overaggressive tooth brushing, teeth grinding (bruxism), tooth position, and trauma. Depending on the extent of recession and underlying cause, medications, deep cleaning procedures, flap surgery, or gum grafting could be possible treatments.