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Tooth Sensitivity: What It Means and What to Do About It

March 18, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — smile_fitness @ 2:37 pm
woman with tooth sensitivity drinking coffee

As you groggily make your way to the kitchen in the morning, you pour yourself a hot cup of coffee to start the day. When you take a sip, you feel a startling ping of sensitivity in one of your teeth. That woke you up!

You immediately start to worry and wonder: What could be wrong? Is tooth sensitivity a serious problem? Should you call your dentist? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and help you know what you should do next.

Where Tooth Sensitivity Comes From

Before learning about tooth sensitivity, you need to understand your teeth’s anatomy. On the outside, you have the protective enamel, which is the strongest material in your body. It’s important to note that enamel shell only covers the crown, or the part of the tooth that stands above the gumline. Beneath the enamel, you have the yellowish dentin tissue, which is more sensitive. At the center, the pulp houses the tooth’s nerve and blood vessels. As a result, the pulp is extremely vulnerable and reacts with severe pain if it is agitated.

Essentially, when you feel sensitivity in a tooth, it likely means that the dentin has somehow become exposed.

Problems Sensitivity Could Indicate

At the beginning, minor sensitivity may not necessarily be something to worry too much about. You could be brushing too hard, pushing away the gum tissue and revealing the more sensitive tooth roots. It could also be the result of natural enamel wear over time, perhaps from teeth grinding or clenching.

On the other hand, tooth sensitivity could be a sign of a more serious problem. Your tooth could have a cavity or a crack that has penetrated the enamel and dentin, allowing harmful bacteria access to this more delicate part of the tooth. Without treatment, these bacteria could delve deeper into the pulp, causing excruciating pain and potentially endangering the tooth.

What to Do About Sensitivity

As soon as you feel that first instance of tooth sensitivity, consider doing the following:

  • Pay attention to when you feel sensitivity. Is it only when you eat or drink hot, cold, or sugary substances? How often do you experience the sensitivity?
  • Use a toothpaste specifically formulated to help with sensitivity. These often contain higher amounts of fluoride, which can reinforce your enamel and protect against this unpleasant sensation.
  • Brush and floss thoroughly (but gently) every day. These little habits can stop bacteria from having a chance to harm your teeth.
  • Make sure you’re maintaining a healthy diet with plenty of water. Try to limit the sugar and carbs you consume and have water throughout the day to keep bacterial growth under control.

Although sensitivity on its own may not always merit an immediate, emergency dental visit, be sure to discuss your sensitivity with your dentist during your next checkup and cleaning appointment.

When to See a Dentist

As previously explained, sometimes tooth sensitivity doesn’t automatically point to tooth decay or damage. But if it progresses at all or the tooth starts to hurt even when unprovoked, then you definitely need to contact your dentist right away.

Ultimately, if you’re concerned that your tooth sensitivity could be a symptom of damage to your teeth, you can seek professional guidance from your dentist. They can examine you and help you overcome sensitivity and make sure your mouth is healthy and strong.

About the Practice

Smile Fitness Dental Centers is proud to have three skilled, highly trained dentists on staff. Although they come from different professional backgrounds, they share a passion for keeping smiles healthy and helping patients who experience dental discomfort. Do you have tooth sensitivity? Contact us through our website or give us a call at 623-849-0477 to schedule an appointment today!

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