April 5, 2021

Sensitive Teeth? Here’s How to Know if It’s Serious!

Woman drinking cup of coffee in pain with hand on cheek

Ice cream is one of the most popular desserts worldwide, and now that it’s warming up outside, this treat turns into a true favorite. However, not for those with tooth sensitivity. Do you bite into your ice cream cone only to be greeted by discomfort? Tooth sensitivity usually occurs due to extra hot or cold temperatures. But why does this happen? Is it a true dental emergency? Read on to learn the answers!

Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive?

Your healthy teeth have a layer of strong material called enamel that protects the sensitive inner portion of your smile. When enamel is damaged, decayed, or infected, it leaves the sensitive portion of your tooth susceptible to pain and discomfort. You may have sensitive teeth if you have:

  • Fractured teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Worn down enamel
  • Exposed tooth roots

It’s estimated that 1 in every 8 Americans experience some level of tooth sensitivity. While no two smiles are the same, these issues listed above are common reasons for the pain in your smile when chewing, brushing, or feeling an extreme change in temperature.

Do You Need to See an Emergency Dentist?

It depends! In some cases, sensitivity happens simply due to natural wear and tear. This is no cause for concern, but you should alert your dentist during your next checkup. That said, dental emergencies like fractured teeth or severe tooth decay and gum disease should be treated immediately. Your sensitivity may be due to infection, which must be treated with root canal therapy to prevent tooth loss. When in doubt, contact your dentist and explain the problem. From there, they will be able to walk you through your specific next steps.

At-Home Treatments for Sensitivity

If you have a serious issue like cracked, broken, infected, or damaged teeth, visit your dentist as soon as possible for professional treatment. However, if you’re dealing with more mild sensitivity due to age, wear, or a genetic predisposition, you can take these steps on your own:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste: Look for desensitizing toothpaste at your grocery store. This product contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. You’ll usually need to use it a few times before seeing results.
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush: Make sure that you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste so you aren’t damaging your enamel.
  • Avoid acidic foods: Try to limit the number of acidic foods and drinks that you consume to protect your teeth as much as possible.

Don’t let tooth sensitivity get in the way of your day-to-day life. Contact your dentist and use these tips to enjoy a healthy, comfortable set of teeth!

About the Practice

At Parker Dental & Orthodontics, we have a team of dentists who provide a wide range of amazing services for Alabama and Mississippi patients. From fluoride treatments to root canal therapy, we are ready to treat tooth sensitivity. We can be contacted through our website or by phone at any of our locations.

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