My tooth hurts to bite on – is it an abscess?

25th March 2024

We looked at cracked teeth last time; in this blog we’ll take a look at dental abscesses as a cause of pain from a tooth on biting.

Abscesses are infections that affect the area surrounding an unhealthy tooth. They usually appear if the nerve of a tooth has died (usually because of previous decay, but sometimes as a result of gum problems).

With cracked teeth, the pain you might experience is usually a very sharp/shooting pain on biting hard things. Dental abscesses tend to result in more of a dull/radiating pain but can also sometimes be very localised. In addition to pain from the tooth itself, you may feel generally run down or unwell if the infection is spreading into the rest of your body.

A tooth with an abscess will often feel painful just to touch/press/push and sometimes it may be difficult to touch your teeth together.

If you have a history of gum problems, or a tooth that has been heavily filled or has a cavity in it then it is quite likely that there may be an abscess if it’s painful to pressure. It’s not common to get abscesses if your teeth are in good condition but as ever you’ll need to speak to your dentist as soon as possible as abscesses can be quite serious if allowed to develop or spread.



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