Patients often experience sensitive or painful teeth after receiving dental treatment or after grinding their teeth during sleep (nocturnal bruxism). The patient may or may not feel an obstruction or “high” bite. When the upper and lower teeth come together when swallowing or chewing, they should interdigitate (mesh together) properly without any prematurities.
If one of the teeth is not meshing well with the opposing teeth, the tooth will be traumatized and become hypersensitive. Usually the tooth will become sensitive to cold, or when biting into hard foods. Teeth are connected to our jaw bones by very small ligaments, which become sprained when the bite is “high” or “off”.
The tooth or restoration that is “high” or “off” will need to be adjusted with a dental drill. Once the tooth is aligned properly with the opposing teeth, both when biting straight down and when rubbing the teeth together, it will take approximately 2 to 6 weeks to improve.
When a tooth or teeth are extremely sensitive due to the bite being “high” we apply desensitizing agents to the affected teeth and the patient is also given anti-inflammatory medication.
Patients are usually numb when undergoing dental treatment and are not thoroughly aware of their bite. After the anesthetic wears off, they regain a sense of their “normal bite”. If the bite does not feel right, we stress returning to our office as soon as possible for an adjustment. The longer the patient continues to bite incorrectly or function on a “high” tooth, the worse the pain will be as the tooth is being traumatized continuously.
Patients who grind their teeth while sleeping may traumatize one or multiple teeth, resulting in the same discomfort or sensitivity as a person with a “high” bite. For patients who experience discomfort due to grinding their teeth, we recommend adjusting the bite and fabrication of a nightguard to minimize undue forces on the teeth during sleep.