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Tooth pain when eating chips?



Junior member
May 19, 2010
Whenever I bite down on anything hard, such as chips and dry cereal, I experience stabs of pain on two of my teeth, located on my bottom jaw, pre-molar 1 or 2 (it's around that region, I'm too scared of the pain to figure it out for myself) on the left and right sides. It dulls after a few seconds.

I can eat soft foods, and I don't feel pain when I bite on my finger or eat cold/hot stuff.

Background on tooth on right side: My dentist was waiting for the anesthesia shots to work on my left side before fixing the teeth on my left side (lowering the heights of fillings, filling in cavities (2) on my upper and lower jaw), so he decided to work on a tooth on my right side without any anethesia. Earlier, this tooth hurt whenever I bit into something sweet, like a cookie. He drilled until I felt a sharp burst of pain, then he stopped. He didn't fill it in or anything, but instead left it there and started to work on my left side.
I haven't eaten any cookies since, but I can eat ice cream and double-chocolate muffins without pain.

Background on tooth on left side: He was supposed to fix this tooth because I had a cavity. He numbed me, but I was extremely sensitive, so he gave me another shot. I still felt pain, but I gritted my teeth (proverbial) and dealt with the blasts of pain.

So in the end, even though he worked on both of my teeth, I still feel pain whenever I bite something hard.

My father says I should go for root canals, but I'm only 16! With regular visits to the dentist too. What should I do?

**My dentist has been known to be sloppy. My family goes to him because he's free (with insurance), so I've gone to his office all my life. Two months ago, my mother decided to try out a new dentist that she had heard about, and after his examinations, I found out that two of my cavities had cracked/chipped, and one filling was not even filled in correctly (there was a tiny sliver of black between the filling and my tooth). Lastly, ALL my fillings had to be fixed because my dentist hadn't bothered to check if the fillings were too high or not.

It's been two months since my last visit (in which my dentist states that he's corrected all my problems), but my mom says I can't switch to the new dentist because I need my old dentist to fix the teeth that he's already worked on (insurance policy things). It'd cost us $1000+ if I switch and get my teeth fixed with the other doctor.
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Sounds like you need the bite adjusted on the painful teeth, which is easy and quick to do and should cost very little to nothing at all...
@Gordon: Could you tell me how that would work please? He's had to file down all my fillings already (that's what he did on the last time I saw my old dentist - a cavity and filing down all the fillings).
I looked it up on Google, but I didn't come up with anything useful.
You would use some bite indicating paper to mark the high areas of the fillings and then adjust them. I can't imagine why anyone would need to file down all the fillings in a patient's teeth???
@Gordon: Oh, I see. Thanks for the clarification.
Well, he had to file down all of them because all my fillings were too high. In fact, two of my fillings cracked because they were way too high, so I decided to confront my dentist and have him fix them all.
Apparently, my dentist is supposed to use bite-indicating paper every time he does a filling, but he's never done it for me till two months ago.

If this helps, I feel a little bit less pain if I don't bite all the way down on dry cereal. :]
Dry cereal? Yuck :)

Anyway, it sounds like there's still some adjustment needed if it's still painful to bite down on things.
Yea, I don't like dry cereal much either, but my mom told me I had to figure out which tooth hurts, so I just ate some dry crunchy cereal.

I had another dentist appointment today to fix the tooth on my left side. I found out that it hurts when I floss one side of it, so I told that to the dentist. He told me that I only had a small filling, and no other problems, so he just redid my filling (amalgam). He said I didn't need a bite adjustment...

4 hours later, my tooth is really really really sore. And it still hurt when I ate dinner.
I don't know if I'm being over sensitive (he says the nerves in my teeth are larger than most people's), or I have some sort of gum disease or something.

If adjusting doesn't help as Gorden suggested then the tooth is cracked
Eeekk...my dentist told me it wasn't cracked though...said the X-ray didn't show anything.

Well, I have a new tooth problem now.

The premolar 1 on my left side hurts whenever I drink cold water, grind my teeth together (happens when I play violin/golf), and hurts a LOT when I press down on the small filling I have on it. This is the same tooth that hurt whenever I ate chips.

On Monday, my dentist took an X-ray, and said there's nothing wrong with my tooth. However, he still proceeded to take out and re-do the amalgam filling. I told him whenever I flossed between my premolars it hurt, and since my teeth have spaces between them, he decided to shape the new filling so it'd cover more of the space between my teeth, and food wouldn't hit it as easily.

For the past couple of days, my tooth hurt a lot. It was painful when I didn't even do anything - I could feel it throbbing and it was really sore. I decided to poke around my tooth and found out that whenever I used my nail to press down on the filling, I'd feel a really intense stab of pain. Ironically, it hurt enough that I was almost scared of brushing my teeth, because I use cold tap water.

So today I went in for an emergency appointment, and he still said that he couldn't see anything wrong with my tooth, but decides to pull out the filling again and fill it in with the silver filling.

I don't know what changing the filling accomplished, but right now it still hurts whenever I eat chips or drink cold water.
I also can't go to another dentist, because my current dentist maxed out my insurance, and so my mom said that no dentist will take me for at least two more years.

I'm deathly afraid of going back there...he already said he can't do anything/doesn't know what to do, and even though my tooth is really bothering me, I don't see much hope for me even if I do go back, because he won't be able to fix it anyway. If it's possible, could you guys please tell me what could possibly be causing me all this pain, based on my descriptions? Then at least I could run possible reasons/solutions past my dentist.

Also, thank you so much Gordon and comfortdentist, for helping me out. I told him everything you guys told me, but he just shrugged it off and said that the X-ray didn't show him anything.
I really appreciate your assistance; makes me a little less scared of dentists, haha.
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First sorry to hear about your problems but the small cracks that cause pain when chewing firm food are basically never seen in a radiograph. You might be able to see it with a good intraoral picture but the best way is to use a bite stick made for detecting cracks and if the dentist can reproduce the pain when you bite on the stick then you know it is cracked.
Oh, I see.

I'll ask him that the next time I see him, thanks!

Does anyone have any advice for me on my most recent problem development?
If the tooth is continually painful after refilling, then it may be an idea to do a sedative dressing. If it calms down- it can be refilled after a while. If it doesn't calm down then it could be a crack or problem with the nerve. An xray can't tell you if the nerve (pulp) is in trouble as there is no infection etc to see. As both gordon and comfortdentist have said- cracks are really hard to spot sometimes and notoriously difficult to diagnose. If you have pain on releasing biting on the tooth then there is a good chance there is a crack.
Could the filling be high in the bite? If it is- you'll see a small shiny area on the silver filling where it is rubbing. If you grind or clench your teeth- this would exacerbate the problem even more.
best wishes
dr mike
Thanks for the response!

I'm planning on visiting the dentist on Tuesday, becuase he's full for the weekend and doesn't work on Mondays.

Would it be easier to get a crown/root canal? My mother is really irritated at me for having these problems, and she says that I should just get a root canal so I don't feel anything anymore.
...but I'm deathly afraid of the dentist, and even more so at getting my tooth pulled out. The same dentist pulled my tooth out when I was 6 (it had a rotten root or something), and it was the scariest experience in my life (he's an adult dentist).
But if it's worth it, then...I dunno, I'll try to hold back my fear.
i'd only get root canal work if it absolutely had to be done.
i think not being able to diagnose why the tooth is still painful isn't a good reason to remove the nerve!
dr mike
Alright, thanks for your help Dr. Mike!

And thanks so much to comfortdentist and Gordon too, I really appreciate it!