Have you ever bitten into a cold or sugary food item and felt a shocking jolt of pain in your tooth? If so, then you might have a dental condition called tooth sensitivity. Though the sensation might fade after a moment, sensitivity pain can feel excruciating.
Tooth pain of any kind is abnormal and should receive a prompt evaluation from a dentist. This symptom could point to a larger structural dental problem that will need urgent dental care. Read on to find responses from your dentist in Gaithersburg, MD to frequently asked questions regarding tooth sensitivity.
Why Do I Feel Tooth Sensitivity Pain?
Tooth sensitivity occurs when an external stimulus touches the nerves in the dentin layer of the tooth. Your teeth have a hard outer shell called enamel that shields the vulnerable interior. But enamel can erode and wear down over time, leaving the dentin exposed.
Dentin contains nerves that send pain signals to the brain when touched, which results in sensitivity pain. Enamel may weaken for many reasons, but regardless of the cause, it cannot regrow on its own. So tooth sensitivity will require dental intervention to alleviate.
Though tooth sensitivity does not inherently constitute a dental emergency, you should not suffer through discomfort in your smile. Sensitivity might also occur due to dental issues that can worsen without treatment, so you should not ignore this symptom.
How Will My Dentist Treat Tooth Sensitivity?
The treatment for tooth sensitivity symptoms will depend on the root cause of the problem. In mild cases of weakened tooth enamel, your dentist might suggest using a desensitizing toothpaste. This product contains ingredients that will block nerves in the teeth from transmitting pain signals, thus alleviating discomfort.
Your dentist might also replace thinned tooth enamel with a dental crown. This ceramic cap will cover the entire surface of the tooth, serving as a new shield for the nerves in dentin.
Dental problems like cavities can also cause tooth sensitivity. When your dentist treats a cavity with a dental filling, you will find relief from this tooth pain too. Your dentist will evaluate the affected tooth to find the best solution for your symptoms.
Can I Prevent Tooth Sensitivity?
You can lower your risk for tooth sensitivity by protecting the structure of your tooth enamel. Acidic and sugary foods can contribute to the erosion of the enamel, so limit these foods in your diet.
Make sure you also practice good oral hygiene. Brushing teeth twice per day and flossing daily will remove plaque from your teeth in a timely fashion before it can harm your smile. You should schedule routine teeth cleanings too so that a dentist can get rid of plaque and tartar that you might have missed during your at-home care.
Your dentist might suggest strengthening your tooth enamel with fluoride treatments. The dentist will apply a rinse, paste, or gel containing fluoride to your teeth in their office. The mineral will absorb into the teeth to fortify the enamel, making it better resistant to deterioration.