Why is My Tooth Sensitive, and What Should I do About it?
When sipping hot chocolate or coffee — or maybe just breathing in cold air — causes a zing of pain in a tooth, you may be dealing with tooth sensitivity. Many times, tooth sensitivity is nothing to worry about and will go away on its own. But in some cases, sensitivity could be a response to a different issue that may require the intervention of our family dentist in Louisville.
What are the various causes of tooth sensitivity? And if you’re suffering from a prolonged case of it, what should you do?
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is pain caused when the tooth’s nerve is exposed to stimuli. Teeth have layers, including a yellow “dentin” layer on the inside, and a white, durable enamel shell on the outside. Enamel is responsible for insulating a tooth from temperature variations. When the dentin is exposed to stimuli, a tooth becomes susceptible to discomfort because of temperature changes, biting pressure or even sugary foods and beverages.
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, pay close attention to when you’re noticing it. This could provide important clues about whether your case of tooth sensitivity is something that will pass or if it’s something that may require a trip to the dentist.
Which issues behind tooth sensitivity may warrant a trip to our family dentist’s office near Jeffersonville?
Let’s take a look:
Tooth enamel thins with age, but it can happen quicker than it should if a patient has untreated bruxism or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Bruxism — the unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth, usually during sleep.
TMJ disorder — a disorder of the jaw joints that is marked by pain, clicking and/or popping in the jaw and sometimes ringing in the ear.
TMJ and bruxism often go hand-in-hand, and they can cause a poor bite. This can lead to small abfractions in tooth enamel, causing it to flake off and create dents in the teeth along the gum line.
Loose dental crowns, old fillings or microscopic tooth fractures can cause tooth sensitivity. Unfortunately, patients can’t always easily identify these issues just by looking in their mouths or at their teeth. This is why regular dental exams are a critical component of a person’s overall oral health regime. Dental x-rays are usually enough to identify one of the common dental problems behind tooth sensitivity.
Untreated gum disease
Gum disease is preventable but affects almost half of all adults in the U.S. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth sensitivity, gum recession and, eventually, tooth loss.
How do I deal with tooth sensitivity?
If you have tooth sensitivity that hasn’t gone away on its own, it’s best to make an appointment with a family dentist like ours in Shepherdsville to rule out any potential underlying dental issues. A dentist may encourage you to brush with toothpaste that is specially formulated for sensitivity; it seals the pores in the teeth, creating a barrier between stimuli and the tooth’s nerve. If you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity as a result of TMJ disorder or bruxism, our dentist will talk with you about oral appliance therapy to help prevent further thinning of the tooth enamel.
Tooth Sensitivity Treatment in Louisville, Jeffersonville, and Shepherdsville, KY
Fortunately, several treatment possibilities are available for tooth sensitivity. The first step is calling us at Exceptional Dentistry to schedule an appointment. Give us a call at 888-918-3336, or reach out to us online today.
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