Before we get into it, we want to assure you that tooth pain is not uncommon and it’s nothing to be scared of! What is important is understanding why tooth pain might be happening and when to get help. While there could be many reasons, tooth pain when biting down is most commonly related to cracked tooth syndrome

Cracked tooth syndrome has become more prevalent over the years as a result of improved dental care and the fact that we are all keeping our teeth for longer and subjecting them to more wear and tear. This condition commonly occurs in molars and premolars, as well as front teeth on occasion. In some cases, tooth cracks are only superficial and easy to fix, but they can also be more complex, affecting the nerve and root of the tooth..

Common reasons cracked tooth syndrome occurs

  • Grinding and clenching, which can subject the teeth to excessive force
  • Heavily filled teeth, which are more likely to develop cracks, particularly under cusps surrounding the filling where the teeth are weakened
  • Chewing on hard foods such as nuts, ice, hard lollies 
  • Trauma to the teeth due to impact injuries, particularly when the lower teeth impact against the upper teeth

Symptoms of tooth pain

Cracks don’t always equal pain. In fact, symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome are often described as a feeling of sensitivity to hot or cold with a short sharp pain on biting hard foods. It can be difficult to identify which tooth is causing the symptoms, with the pain often referred between top and bottom teeth. However, we have several tests to help us find the source of the problem.


If the crack is superficial, it can easily be fixed with a large filling which can re-build and overlay the top of the tooth. With more extensive tooth cracks, the cracks cannot be easily removed and in these situations, a crown is the only effective treatment option. 

More complex cracks that pass deeper and reach the nerve of the tooth will unfortunately allow bacteria in. The bacteria then cause inflammation of the nerve which can cause the nerve to die. If this happens, the tooth may require a root canal treatment or complete removal of the tooth and replacement with a denture, implant or bridge. 

Other reasons for tooth pain when biting down can include infection under the tooth, sinus problems with the top teeth or clenching and grinding your teeth. Sinus problems will resolve with time and the pain will go. Tender teeth due to clenching and grinding often do settle as well, but sometimes require protections with dental splints. Infection under a tooth can mean root canal treatment or removal of the tooth is needed.

We have the experience and expertise in assisting with the diagnosis and treatment options for tooth pain when biting down. The causes and treatment options are many and varied, so pop in for a chat with our Brisbane dentist about what may suit your teeth today.


We are an Accredited Dental Practice and a Member of the Australian Dental Association

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