Ouch! When you find yourself suffering from tooth sensitivity, even your favorite meal can turn into a chore. There are many reasons why tooth sensitivity can take place, but all of them point to one thing: The need to see a general dentist as soon as you can to evaluate the problem.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
From the outside, it might seem like teeth are nothing but hard minerals – almost like rocks. But, in fact, they are living things just like all the other major systems in your body. Your teeth are nourished by the blood flow supplied by your gums and are each served by their own nerve.
With all that in mind, it’s not surprising that they can experience sensitivity.
About 40 million Americans experience some tooth sensitivity on a regular basis. Unfortunately, it can mean there’s an underlying problem with your teeth or their nerves that needs to be treated!
Some of the most common reasons for tooth sensitivity include:
Worn-Out Tooth Enamel
If your toothbrush is too hard, you could actually contribute to tooth sensitivity when you brush. It’s important to replace your toothbrush at least every six months to ensure the bristles remain their softest. You should also avoid brushing too vigorously.
Tooth Erosion Due to Acid
Some acidic foods and drinks are so powerful, they can temporarily soften tooth enamel. In fact, you should avoid brushing your teeth for 15-30 minutes after eating to prevent this from causing damage. Sugar-free gum can also help restore the mouth’s pH balance.
Tooth Decay and Bad Fillings
Of course, tooth decay can lead to sensitivity. However, that’s really only half the story. Many people who have fillings might believe they’re safe from decay – but, as fillings age, they start to break down. If you have old-fashioned amalgam fillings, they may need to be replaced.
Everybody experiences some recession of gum tissue with age. This gradual process is the origin of the saying “long in the tooth.” If gum recession is accelerated by decay or other issues, gums might retreat far enough that sensitivity to cold and heat will result.
Some people experience tooth sensitivity because they grind their teeth at night. This condition, called bruxism, can cause microscopic damage to teeth. People often don’t know they are doing it until a sleeping partner lets them know.
How Does a General Dentist Treat Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity can usually be treated by addressing the underlying problem. This usually means cleaning the teeth, treating any active decay, and replacing damaged fillings. If the discomfort is caused by bruxism, a special dental appliance can often curb symptoms.
A good general dentist will always strive to save a tooth, even if it is damaged. In extreme cases, root canal therapy can be performed to eliminate the tooth nerve. This prevents the tooth from detecting hot and cold sensations, while still leaving it structurally sound.
For help from a general dentist you can trust, contact Landmark Dental Group.