If you’ve ever taken a gulp of coffee that caused you to wince or a bite out of something cold that sent your hand shooting to hold the side of your mouth, you may have sensitive teeth. Hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods may stimulate the nerves or cells within the teeth and cause occasional pain that can be remedied with dental care.
It may be the result of a simple or a serious oral health problem. A chipped tooth, old fillings, worn down enamel or gums that recede as a result of overly aggressive brushing or gum disease are all common reasons for tooth sensitivity.
Some can be corrected easily while others may need more involved treatment. If you delay a visit to the dentist, the sensitivity – and the cause of it – may worsen. But in addition to dreading a dental appointment, many people put off care because they have no dental insurance. It may not be offered as part of a workplace health plan or the premiums can be too costly to pay out of pocket.
An alternative that makes many dentistry services affordable to individuals and whole families is a discount dental plan that provides many dentistry services at reduced cost.
Solutions to Sensitivity
Once an exam takes place to find the source of your tooth sensitivity, the American Dental Association recommended brushing with a toothpaste that has a desensitizing formula. Or, you can ask your dentist if a fluoride gel treatment applied at the dental office will help.
If the problem goes deeper than the surface enamel and the cementum that protects the tooth roots below the gumline, that means the dentin within the teeth may be affected. Small canals called tubules in the dentin may be allowing cold, hot and irritant foods into those spaces, which would account for your discomfort.
When more serious dental issues like these occur, they can require having a crown installed over a tooth with significant decay or an old filling that must be removed. Sometimes, a root canal to remove damaged pulp from your tooth core is necessary before a crown can be applied.
In cases when gum disease has caused the gums to recede from the teeth, exposing their roots, oral surgery may be needed to close up the pockets that develop and are likely to let in bacteria that will make your inflamed gums worse.
What’s causing your teeth to be sensitive? Has your dentist weighed in on it? Let us know in your comments!