Having a tooth that hurts every time you bite down is not normal and needs your attention. There are many reasons for your teeth to hurt when chewing food, and we are here to dissect each cause with treatments.

What’s Causing Tooth Pain When You Bite Down Food?

Learning and then identifying warning signs serve as a head start on getting the right treatment and preserving your tooth function. If biting or chewing hurts a single tooth or multiple teeth, it’s most likely due to one of the following reasons:

1. Sensitive Teeth

You can develop tooth sensitivity from various factors like a small cavity, loose tooth fillings, or gum recession exposing small areas of the root surface. In any of these situations, when your nerves come in contact with external triggers like food or drinks, it sends sharp zaps of pain.


Now, the main focus is to layer teeth with a protective shield. For this, some routes include using desensitizing toothpaste, applying fluoride flush, or dentin sealers to minimize sensitivity. However, in severe cases, procedures like dental bonding exposed tooth roots or gum grafting to cover exposed areas successfully desensitize the sensitivity of the tooth.

2. Large Cavities

When left untreated, cavities can become large enough to cause tooth pain when biting down. They may look like holes in teeth, appear as dots on your enamel, and become sensitive to touch or cause spontaneous pain. The good news is that dentists have various options to get rid of this problem.


Although cavities are holes in the tooth, there are methods other than filling that can treat this condition. Usually, removing the decayed tooth part and filling the hollow with inert materials like composite resin is sufficient for small cavities. However, when the tooth is in its advanced stage, a root canal may be necessary, followed by dental crown fixation to restore its function so that your tooth does not hurt when you bite down.

3. Malocclusion

Improper teeth alignment or bad bite puts uneven pressure on your teeth while chewing, resulting in pain. This condition results from factors like crowded teeth, misaligned jaws, or genetic predisposition.


Multiple orthodontic treatments like braces, aligners, or other dental appliances are used to correct misalignments, improve bite, and reduce pain while eating.

4. Gum Recession

Gums receding from their line expose root surfaces of teeth to external damaging factors. If you can see gum lines pushing back, this is the reason why your tooth hurts when biting down.


Treating this involves dealing with the underlying cause first. Until you do so, desensitizing toothpaste use can make your teeth hurt less while eating. Other than that, applying bonding agents on exposed areas or surgical procedures like gum grafting to cover exposed root surfaces helps manage pain.

5. Cracked Teeth

Cracks in teeth cause pain even if they are not immediately visible. You may get a crack in your teeth from extreme tooth grinding, improper or large fillings, chewing or biting on something hard, an accident in your lower jaw, gum disease, etc.


The route depends on the case’s severity. Some of the options include dental bonding, a crown to protect the tooth from pain, root canal procedures for infected tissue removal, or, in severe cases, tooth extraction.

6. Dental Abscess

Leaving a tooth infection untreated is a big mistake, as it can progress to an abscess. If you can spot a fluid-filled gum pocket surrounding a tooth that hurts when you bite down, an abscess is the reason.


Dental abscesses are more often than not treated by a root canal to remove the infected pulp, followed by disinfection of the hollow canal and sealing it for further protection.

7. Tooth Decay Under Dental Crown

There are chances for your gums to suffer infection under the dental crown. Factors like improper oral care can cause this to happen. Infections under crowns show up as tooth pain while chewing or biting, sensitivity, gum swelling, etc.


The treatment plan includes decaying portion removal and replacement with a crown for proper restoration.

8. Tooth Grinding

Excessive teeth grinding makes it sensitive and results in fractures. In such a situation, enamel weakens, putting your tooth at risk of suffering discomfort and agony every time you eat or drink anything.


Even if a single tooth hurts when you bite down due to clenching and involuntary grinding, wear a mouth guard for protection from grinding forces and potential damage. Stress has been found to be a leading reason for this issue. In case you clench your teeth involuntarily only while sleeping, a night guard may be of help.

9. Sinus Infection

If your tooth in the upper back area hurts when you bite down food, sinus inflammation can be blamed due to their close proximity.


If your tooth hurts while biting down food items due to a sinus infection, keep up adequate hydration with fluids, use steam, and consume spicy foods to thin mucus.

10. Botched Dental Restorations

Ill-fitted crowns or over-filled dental fillings can hurt your teeth when biting down. When dental restorations fail, they put pressure on teeth, resulting in discomfort.


To manage tooth pain caused by botched dental restorations, pain relievers, wearing a mouth guard, eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and treating TMJ can help. Address the root cause to alleviate toothache.

Closing Note

If your tooth hurts while biting down food, do not ignore it. Botched dental restorations, large cavities, gum recession, etc., can cause tooth pain while eating.

We hope that this blog answers most of your queries; however, in case there are still some questions in your mind, consult with our dental care experts Dr. Saam Zarrabi, D.D.S., and Dr. Yahya Mansour, D.D.S., M.S., F.A.G.D., F.I.C.O.I. along with their team at Rodeo Dental and Orthodontics to learn more. We offer our services in multiple locations, so you can schedule an appointment with us at your convenience by dialing (888) 453-4129.

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