One of my teeth has been so sensitive lately. Is this something I should be concerned about? What would cause this?
Wendy, Omaha, NE
Having sensitive teeth is one of the most common complaints dentists hear. The level of sensitivity varies from patient to patient, as does the urgency of getting dental care.
One of the main reasons that a tooth may become sensitive is because the tissue under the tooth enamel called dentin becomes exposed. This happens when the enamel wears down. When that dentin is exposed it can make a tooth sensitive to hot or cold liquids, foods or even air, become irritated, and sometimes even get a toothache.
A number of things can cause this wearing away of enamel. Decay is at the top of the list. Brushing too hard or with a toothbrush with hard bristles is another. Drinks with high acidity, like soda, energy drinks or juices, along with eating acidic foods, can damage enamel. A crack in a tooth or chip can expose the dentin. Some people may not even realize that they do it, but teeth grinding or clenching can chip enamel away and lead to sensitivity. Even acid reflux and bulimia can wear down enamel.
If you are experiencing sensitivity, you can try to use a sensitivity toothpaste, but often it takes about eight weeks for the effect to be noticed.
If more pain starts to develop or if this doesn’t seem to help, it may mean that there is decay inside the tooth and a root canal may be required to save your tooth. Visit with your dentist right away and share the symptoms you are experiencing.
You may be interested in learning more about emergency dentists.
This post is sponsored by Enfield dentist Dr. William Cummiskey at Generations Dental Care.