Have you ever bitten into an ice cream bar and felt a sharp pain in your tooth? This sensation, known as tooth sensitivity, can feel excruciating. But the pain often fades quickly. Even if you think you can tolerate tooth sensitivity, this discomfort could be a symptom of a larger dental problem, so you should not ignore it.
Knowing more about this condition can encourage you to seek an urgent evaluation from a dentist for this symptom. Read on to find responses to frequently asked questions regarding tooth sensitivity, its treatment, and its prevention.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity Pain?
Tooth sensitivity happens when a tooth sustains structural damage, specifically to the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. If the enamel wears down or erodes, the inner dentin layer becomes exposed to external threats.
If a stimulus, such as a portion of cold or sugary food, touches dentin, the nerves there send pain signals to the brain so that you feel tooth sensitivity. Once the stimulus is removed from the tooth, the pain stops, hence the intermittent feeling of this pain.
Once gone, enamel does not regrow, so tooth sensitivity does not go away on its own. Your dentist can help you treat the issue, but the solutions will depend on the cause of the enamel loss and the resulting symptoms.
How Can My Dentist Treat Tooth Sensitivity?
Enamel erosion can occur for a number of reasons, including factors outside of your control like aging. Mild cases of enamel loss and tooth sensitivity can sometimes be resolved by using a desensitizing toothpaste. This product contains ingredients that block the nerves within the tooth from transmitting pain signals so that you no longer feel tooth sensitivity.
Your dentist might also replace lost enamel with restorative dental treatments. For instance, a dental crown can cover a damaged tooth, sealing into place with dental cement to create lasting protection. The ceramic cap stops stimuli from reaching dentin, so you will no longer feel this type of pain.
Tooth sensitivity can also occur as a symptom of larger dental problems, including cavities. When a dentist treats a cavity using a dental filling, the sensitivity pain should go away too. Consult your dentist to find the ideal way to resolve your tooth pain.
Can I Protect My Teeth from Sensitivity Pain?
You can reduce your risk for tooth sensitivity by taking proper care of your smile both at home and at your dentist’s office. Adhere to good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing your teeth, to get rid of harmful residues that will weaken your enamel. Visit your dentist for regular teeth cleanings too to maximize your oral cleanliness.
Acidic and sugary food items will erode your enamel as well. So limit these foods and drinks from your diet to best preserve your smile. Find more preventative dental care that will suit your unique needs by consulting with your dentist.