Have you ever bitten into ice cream and felt a shock of pain in your tooth? This jolting feeling is known as tooth sensitivity. Though sometimes fleeting, the sensation can be excruciating.
You do not have to suffer through this discomfort. Let your dentist know about this symptom. It could signify a larger underlying dental problem that needs urgent care. Read on to find responses from a dental professional to frequently asked questions about the tooth sensitivity condition.
Why Does My Tooth Feel Sensitivity Pain?
Tooth sensitivity stems from the stimulation of nerves in the dentin layer of the tooth. In a healthy tooth, an outer shell called enamel covers the surface of the tooth. In this case, external threats cannot access dentin to generate pain.
But if enamel weakens, thins, or erodes, then dentin becomes exposed. Then stimulants, especially hot, cold, or sugary items, can reach the underlying nerves and send pain signals to the brain. Once the stimulus is removed, the pain may cease, hence the intermittent nature of this sensation.
What Causes the Weakening of Tooth Enamel?
Enamel is durable, but it may weaken for a number of reasons. Over time, sugary or acidic foods or lingering plaque from poor oral hygiene may eat away at the enamel. Dental problems like tooth decay may also contribute to enamel loss.
Once enamel is gone, it will not regrow on its own. This will mean that the pain from a sensitive tooth will not go away without intervention from a dentist.
The issue may also be a symptom of a larger dental concern, like advanced decay. And it also indicates that the protective barrier of your tooth has broken. You should not suffer through or ignore tooth sensitivity. Contact your dentist promptly to address the problem or you might suffer further dental harm.
How Can My Dentist Treat Tooth Sensitivity?
Treatment to resolve tooth sensitivity will depend on the cause of this pain. For mild cases of weakened enamel, your dentist might suggest using sensitivity toothpaste. This product will block nerves from sending pain signals to stop uncomfortable symptoms.
More severe cases of damaged enamel might need a dental crown to replace the outer shell of the tooth. A dentist will also use a crown to protect a tooth after drilling away advanced tooth decay. Your dentist will evaluate your dental health and discuss an appropriate treatment plan with you before pursuing dental work.
Can I Prevent Tooth Sensitivity?
You can keep uncomfortable tooth sensitivity at bay by practicing good oral hygiene. Removing plaque promptly and effectively from your smile will prevent it from eroding the enamel of your teeth. This means you should floss every day and brush your teeth twice per day.
Make sure you visit your dentist for routine teeth cleanings too. Your dentist can clear plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. They can also examine your teeth to make sure you do not have cavities that can cause major structural damage without treatment. Learn more preventative dental care tips when you call your dentist.