10 Reasons Your Teeth Feel Weird or Tingling

10 Reasons Your Teeth Feel Weird or Tingling

 Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH
Medical Reviewed on Oct 18, 2023
byDr. Matthew Hannan DDS
🔬 Evidence Based
10 Reasons Your Teeth Feel Weird or Tingling

Have you ever felt your teeth tingling in a weird way? Or maybe your tooth feels weird, no pain is really there, but you can tell something is “off” in that area? You might even say that “my gums feel weird but my tooth seems fine.” 

What is it that causes these hard-to-pinpoint symptoms in teeth? And most importantly, do you need to see a dentist about it? 

Why Do My Teeth Feel Weird?

Your teeth have different networks of nerves feeding them. Some are connected, others are not. And then there are the surrounding tissues like your gums, lips, cheeks, and sinuses that lay close to those nerve tissues. Anytime something seems “off” or “weird” it can be hard to tell if it’s your teeth or something else. Referred pain or tooth sensitivity may make your teeth feel weird when it’s actually an adjacent area causing the stimulus to your brain.

Teeth are extremely sensitive. Even mild changes—as in less than a millimeter—can cause your bite to be thrown off. And when it is, it can make you say your tooth feels weird (no pain involved.) “But my gums feel weird,” you say? Your gums have thousands of tiny ligaments that attach them to the roots of your teeth, so if they become strained or inflamed, it can leave you with other weird sensations.

10 Reasons Why Your Teeth or Gums May Feel Weird

1. Recent Dental Work

Did you recently get a new dental filling or crown? Are you wearing a temporary restoration while the permanent one is being made at the lab? It could be that your bite is slightly off. The tiny changes in your occlusion (biting relationship) can apply weird pressure points that make specific teeth feel weird or tingling in the gums around them. Your dentist can adjust your occlusion, so be sure to let them know if your bite feels irregular once all of that numbing medication finally wears off. 

2. Teeth Biting Down Irregularly

Sometimes traumatic injuries, TMJ disorder, wisdom teeth, shifting teeth, or even gum disease can change the way our teeth fit together when we bite down. This delicate biting pattern (occlusion) requires a particular relationship between the upper and lower teeth to chew effectively. When our bite is thrown off for some reason, it can strain our teeth and make them feel weird or even sore. 

3. Gingivitis or Periodontal Disease

Gum disease can cause your gum tissues to feel itchy, tingly, or weird around your teeth. The earliest symptoms include redness or swelling along the outermost edges of your gums, closest to your teeth. But left untreated, gingivitis will eventually evolve into full-blown periodontal disease. Aggressive gum disease can make teeth feel sore to the touch, mobile when pressure is applied, or feel weird when you floss or brush your teeth. Chronic halitosis(bad breath), tartar buildup, and bleeding are common. Healthy gums shouldn’t ever bleed, so be sure to talk to your dentist if you’re flossing every day but the bleeding doesn’t get any better. 

4. Ulcers and Cold Sores

Your lips aren’t the only place you can get cold sores in your mouth. If you have an ulcer or sore starting to pop up, it may cause your gums to feel funny. A tingling sensation is also common! Depending on what type of flare-up you’re having, some dentists offer laser cold sore treatment if you see them ASAP after tingling symptoms begin. They can even prescribe medication for you to keep at home if you’re prone to frequent flare-ups. 

5. Oral Care Products 

Changes in your oral health routine can make your teeth and gums feel weird. One example is using teeth whitening toothpaste, which may make teeth start to tingle after several days. Or if you have a new toothpaste and your gums are starting to feel weird, you might be allergic to one of the ingredients. It may take a process of elimination to figure out what it is. Remember that some people can develop sensitivity or allergic reactions to products over time, so this can still happen if you’ve used those items in the past. If your gums are burning, make sure you avoid any products that contain alcohol.

6. Food Caught Between Teeth

This one seems simple, but it’s extremely common. From shredded meat to popcorn hulls, getting food stuck down between your teeth can make your teeth and gums feel weird or even throw off your bite. At first, you might not be able to tell there’s anything stuck. After a few days, the gums tend to get tender and swollen. If you can’t get anything out, try tying a knot in your floss and gently sliding it through that area to see if you can pull anything out. It might take a couple of tries. If you can’t get it, plan a trip to your dentist’s office to have them use a special instrument that can safely reach into that space. This symptom can also mask red flags for tooth decay and enamel damage, so don’t ignore your dental hygiene.

7. Sinus Inflammation and Seasonal Allergies

Your upper tooth roots lay closely next to your nasal sinuses. It’s extremely common to hear of people complaining of weird feelings in their teeth or actual toothaches when nothing is wrong with their teeth at all. In reality, it’s the inflammation of their sinus cavity placing pressure against the roots of their teeth. This scenario can happen if you experience seasonal allergies, feel stuffy, or have a full-blown sinus infection. If you nod your head up and down or take a little jump and feel the pressure hurt worse in your teeth, there’s a good chance that your sinuses are to blame.

8. Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) presses intense amounts of strain to both your teeth and the tiny ligaments that hold them into place. Those ligaments in your gums can become sore or almost bruised to an extent. The strain—especially on a repeated basis—can make your teeth sore to bite on or feel tingly to the touch. You might also see some symptoms of gum recession and visible tooth roots because of the trauma to your tissues.

9. Tooth Shifting Out of Alignment

It’s completely normal for teeth to move out of alignment. Tooth shifting can be caused by relapse after orthodontic treatment (from not wearing your retainer), tooth loss, or even your erupting wisdom teeth pushing at the back of your mouth. Muscle movements in your tongue and lips can also gradually cause teeth to tilt or lean. When those changes happen, it alters the way your teeth bite together. One or two of them may start to take on more biting pressure than normal, causing them to feel weird or tingly after you’ve been chewing a meal. 

10. Teeth Whitening

Tooth whitening agents can stimulate the tiny nerves in the porous “tubules” of your tooth surfaces. This can make teeth feel tingly when you’re breathing, drinking, or eating. The sensation may come on suddenly or be more obvious during temperature changes. If you’re whitening your teeth at home, consider using sensitivity toothpaste each day and skipping days between whitening applications. Always have your dentist examine your teeth before using whitening products, as bleaching agents can be harmful in areas of active tooth decay or gum disease. 

When to Visit a Dentist 

If your teeth tingling progress into something painful, or your gums feel weird and start to swell or bleed, you need to see a dentist. The best-case scenario will be your dentist telling you to clean around that area or take a decongestant. But on the other hand, you might have a cracked tooth or gum disease that requires immediate attention. If your symptoms persist for more than 10-14 days, or they are preventing you from being able to eat normally and go to work, it’s time to go ahead and call your dentist’s office.

Why your tooth feels weird

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “why do my gums feel weird” or telling your dentist your teeth are tingling, you’re not alone. If a tooth feels weird (no pain symptoms) or your gums seem like something is going on, be sure to pay attention. Your body and mouth are ultra-sensitive, so chances are you’re picking up on symptoms of something before major issues have a chance to come into play. Being able to recognize those concerns will help you treat the issue at home or know whether you need to call your dentist or not. 

 Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH"Teeth Talk Girl," is a registered dental hygienist. She started her dental health journey on YouTube, educating the public through videos.
Dr. Matthew  Hannan DDS
Medical Reviewed byDr. Matthew Hannan DDSDr. Matthew Hannan is a board-certified dentist and graduate of UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry.
Last updated onOctober 18, 2023Here is our process

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