Do you avoid ice cream or coffee due to wincing tooth pain? Teeth sensitivity is a very common condition. While it does not always mean something serious or demand urgent treatment, you should know that there are ways a dentist can help. There are many reasons why your teeth may be responding unfavorably to hot or cold temperatures. It is important to let a dentist diagnose dental sensitivity so that you can once again enjoy ice cream, coffee, soup and other tasteful favorites.
Why Do Teeth Become “Sensitive”?
While it may sound odd, your teeth do have feelings. Each tooth has an inner pulp that contains blood vessels and nerves. If these nerves become exposed or damaged in any way, outward symptoms of pain can occur. In many cases, this means a sharp or wincing pain when coming in contact with hot or cold substances. Patients are often unaware that their tooth nerves are compromised until this painful sensitivity abruptly presents itself.
Nerves can become exposed and sensitive in a variety of situations. It can happen during a sudden trauma to the tooth, but it is more likely to occur over time. If the enamel of a tooth (outer layer) wears thin, the next tooth layer is not as protective. The dentin layer has tiny holes or pathways that lead to the tooth pulp where the nerves reside. Therefore, whether it is enamel erosion from acidic drinks or from grinding your teeth, it can lead to enamel damage and tooth sensitivity over time. Receding gums are also associated with sensitivity because the enamel on the roots of the teeth are not as thick.
Teeth sensitivity can also mean that the tooth is infected or decayed. In such cases, prompt treatment is needed. A root canal, filling or other restorative treatment may be necessary to repair the tooth and relieve your painful sensitivity.
The Bottom Line
While there are many causes of sensitive teeth and it may be something you’ve been living with for years, don’t ignore it. Even if your teeth are not in danger, sensitivity can typically be fixed by a qualified dentist. At Rivers + Tanner Family Dentistry, we value the health and comfort of your smile. If you are battling teeth sensitivity, contact our Mt. Pleasant office today to schedule your visit.