Tooth sensitivity is a common complaint for many Americans. In fact, at least 40 million people deal with the painful sensation, but does it require a trip to your emergency dentist? Although it may not seem concerning, the discomfort can be caused by a serious underlying issue. Whether the sensitivity comes on suddenly or is only temporary, it’s best to see a dentist right away to pinpoint the cause of the problem. While every case differs, here are some of the most common reasons for sensitive teeth and how your dentist can stop your pain.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Does taking a sip of your coffee in the morning make you pucker your lips? Maybe eating your favorite ice cream causes you to drop your spoon from the sudden shock of pain? Tooth sensitivity can be the result of a variety of problems, such as:
- Recent dental work
- Tooth decay
- Worn fillings
- Gum disease
- Weakened enamel
- Exposed tooth roots
The pain you feel is caused by the outer layer of your tooth not providing enough protection for the underlying dentin. Your dentin contains millions of tiny tubes that connect to the nerve center of your tooth called the pulp. When pressure, heat, or cold reaches the dentin, it can cause sudden discomfort.
Treating Tooth Sensitivity
You shouldn’t ignore tooth sensitivity because it might be caused by a serious issue, but it doesn’t always warrant a trip to your emergency dentist in Hulen. It’s best to schedule an appointment right away to allow your dentist to find the source of your discomfort. Depending on the results of your examination, they may recommend one or more treatments, such as:
- Desensitizing Toothpaste: The toothpaste contains specific compounds that are effective in blocking the transmission of pain signals from the surface of the tooth to the nerve.
- Fluoride Gel: Your dentist can apply a fluoride varnish to your teeth to strengthen areas of weakened enamel.
- Filling, Crown, or Bonding: If the tooth is damaged or has a worn filling, a new restoration can treat the issue.
- Gum Graft: Exposed tooth roots can be covered with a gum graft to allow the tissue to sit properly on the teeth.
- Root Canal: Extracting the inner layer of the tooth removes the nerve to stop the painful sensations.
When Should I See an Emergency Dentist?
If there is visible damage to a tooth causing the discomfort or you’ve experienced trauma to your mouth, it’s best to contact your dentist right away for an emergency visit. Patients who have sensitivity only when eating or drinking often don’t require urgent dental attention, but you won’t want to wait until your next preventive visit to have it addressed. Your dentist can give you the relief you need while restoring a healthy smile.
About Dr. Renee Corbitt
Dr. Corbitt earned her dental degree from the University of Texas Science Center in San Antonio. She provides comprehensive dental care for patients of all ages through a focus on prevention. If you have tooth sensitivity, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.