You feel it when you drink your coffee or eat ice cream. Your teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold than they used to be. Maybe you even avoid the foods and drinks you enjoy because of it. But why are your teeth sensitive to begin with? Does that mean something is wrong? Get the answers to your questions about sensitive teeth from your emergency dentist.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Teeth can become sensitive to hot and cold for a few different reasons:
- The enamel wears away. When the protective enamel erodes, the layer of dentin becomes more exposed. This layer contains tiny tubes that connect to the pulp or nervous center of the tooth. When hot or cold temperatures come into contact with the dentin, the sensation is communicated through the tubes to the nerves in the tooth.
- The gums have receded, exposing the unprotected roots. The roots of your teeth do not have a thick layer of enamel to shield them. If gum tissue recedes or pulls away from the tooth, the tooth’s root becomes more vulnerable, especially to hot and cold.
- Your teeth have decay. When tooth decay penetrates to the dentin and pulp, the nerves become stimulated by contact with hot and cold.
What could happen if I don’t do anything about my sensitive teeth?
You may think you can power through and deal with your sensitive teeth on your own, but you really shouldn’t in order to avoid more serious symptoms and problems. For example, if your tooth sensitivity is caused by a cavity, you need to address it sooner rather than later. At first, the tooth may just be sensitive to hot and cold, but if left untreated, the tooth decay could become more extensive and lead to a painful dental emergency. By that point, root canal therapy or more advanced treatment could be needed to resolve the problem.
Another example is with gum recession, the main cause of which is gum disease. If you have gum disease, you need to seek professional treatment with your dentist to ensure that it doesn’t progress further, causing permanent damage to the supporting tissue and bone and potentially leading to tooth loss.
What can I do about my sensitive teeth?
If you experience teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold, you should contact and be evaluated by your dentist, especially if the sensitivity lasts longer than four days. They can help you pinpoint the cause and then treat it. However, there are some things you can do at home to help as well, including the following:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Brush your teeth gently.
- Use a toothpaste specially formulated to help with sensitive teeth.
- Avoid acidic foods, such as tomato sauce or oranges, which can exacerbate the sensitivity.
You don’t have to suffer silently when you experience heat or cold. It could mean something more significant is happening. You can do something to make sure your oral health isn’t jeopardized and prevent further damage. As you share your symptoms with your dentist, together you can reduce your sensitivity and regain your ability to enjoy the foods and drinks you love. For more information about sensitive teeth, dental emergencies, or oral health, contact your emergency dentist.
About the Practice
Center One Dental is proud to be family owned and operated. Dr. Raj Vekariya and his wife, along with the rest of the staff, are dedicated to providing dental care that ranges from routine checkups to advanced cosmetic procedures. They also offer evening and weekend hours to accommodate busy patients. Unlike many other dental offices, they make time for same-day emergency appointments. If you call during open hours, they will fit you in—no exceptions. To contact them, you can call (724) 300-3700 or click here.