Do you feel a sharp pain in your tooth when biting into a cold or sugary food item? This painful sensation is known as tooth sensitivity. Though intermittent, it can feel excruciating. It can also be a sign of major structural problems in your tooth.
Do not ignore this symptom. Contact your dentist about tooth sensitivity pain as soon as you can. Tooth pain of any kind is considered a dental emergency and should receive a prompt evaluation from a dentist. Read on to find responses from your Philadelphia, PA dentist to frequently asked questions about tooth sensitivity causes, treatments, and prevention.
Why Do My Teeth Feel Sensitive?
Tooth sensitivity occurs when an external stimulant touches the nerves within the dentin layer of the tooth. Dentin is usually shielded by enamel, the outer shell of the tooth. But enamel may wear down or erode for a number of reasons, leaving dentin exposed.
The nerves of the dentin will send signals of pain to the brain when touched. Hence why the pain may feel fleeting but sharp. Enamel will not regrow on its own, so you will need help from a dentist to resolve this structural damage in your tooth. It will also worsen without treatment, so do not wait to call your dentist about this problem.
How Will My Dentist Treat Tooth Sensitivity?
Treatment for tooth sensitivity will depend on the cause of the enamel damage. Sometimes enamel may wear down over time due to aging or other factors outside of your control.
For mild cases of enamel loss, a dentist may suggest using a desensitizing toothpaste. The toothpaste contains ingredients that block the nerves so that they will not transmit pain signals to the brain. In more severe cases, a dentist can give you a dental crown, a ceramic cap that covers the tooth and serves as a replacement for lost enamel.
Tooth sensitivity can also occur due to other dental issues like cavities. If your dentist drills away tooth decay and restores your dental health with a filling, you can find relief from this pain too. Schedule an evaluation with your dentist to learn why you have tooth sensitivity and therefore find the best treatment for your case.
Can I Prevent Tooth Sensitivity?
You can prevent the loss of your enamel and therefore reduce your risk of tooth sensitivity by practicing good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth and flossing as recommended will remove plaque from your smile in a timely fashion before it can hurt your teeth.
You may also want to consume fewer acidic or sugary foods and drinks. These items will erode your teeth over time, causing permanent damage to the enamel that may result in tooth sensitivity.
You can maximize preventative dental care and oral hygiene by visiting your dentist for routine check-ups too. They will clean your teeth and check your smile for signs of dental damage. Then they can offer treatment before you feel uncomfortable symptoms like tooth pain.