If a sip of hot coffee or a bite of ice cream sends a jolt of pain through your teeth, you could be suffering from tooth sensitivity. This excruciating sensation often signifies a larger dental issue and should not be ignored. You should not have to avoid your favorite foods and beverages because of this pain. A dentist can examine your teeth to determine the causation of these symptoms. Learn more about tooth sensitivity from Dr. Victor Gittleman, a dentist in Morristown, NJ.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Dentin hypersensitivity, the full term for tooth sensitivity, occurs when exposed dentin interacts with a stimulus, usually temperature related. Dentin is a layer in your teeth that is covered by enamel. When enamel is thinned, weakened, or eaten away by plaque, dentin becomes exposed and vulnerable to the elements your mouth experiences every day. Dentin contains direct pathways to the nerve of your tooth, hence the immediacy and intensity of the pain when touched. Dentin exposure can be caused by:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Broken teeth
- Worn fillings
Treatment can differ depending on the cause of your symptoms. Your dentist can examine your teeth and gums to find this cause and consult with you about an appropriate treatment plan.
Is this a dental emergency?
Pain levels can differ when it comes to tooth sensitivity, with patients reporting both mild and severe amounts of discomfort. Regardless, tooth pain is not the norm, and you should contact your dentist if you notice any amount of pain in your teeth. Unbearable pain can be a clear sign of an emergency, but mild levels of discomfort could point to an underlying dental emergency. You should call your dentist’s office if you experience discomfort, and they will likely recommend you schedule an appointment promptly.
What treatment will I need?
Treatment plans may vary depending on the cause of your tooth sensitivity. Your dentist might suggest using a desensitizing toothpaste to relieve symptoms in mild cases of tooth sensitivity. More severe cases will require the intervention of a dental professional. If a cavity is causing this pain, it will need to be filled to prevent further tooth decay. Advanced gum disease requires periodontal therapy to avoid gum recession, which can expose teeth closer to the root. Broken teeth and worn fillings will both need restorative dental solutions, such as a dental crown. A crown can cover the tooth and prevent dentin exposure and the painful symptoms that accompany this condition.
Schedule a dentist appointment in Morristown, NJ
Morristown Cosmetic Dentistry treats dental conditions such as tooth sensitivity in patients of all ages. Dr. Gittleman is a family dentist specializing in cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry in Morristown, NJ. To schedule an appointment with us, contact our office online or reach us by phone at 973.287.3337.