May 25, 2023
Perhaps you don’t think a sensitive tooth is a big deal. Many people, after all, have body aches from time to time. However, sensitivity in your teeth may point to severe problems. In fact, it could signal that you have an urgent oral issue. You may thus wonder: “Is my tooth sensitivity a dental emergency?” Luckily, your Doylestown dentist can answer that question. Read on to learn the causes of sensitive teeth, when the sensitivity is urgent, and how a dentist can treat it.
Some Context: What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Much of the time, teeth only get sensitive when they lose much of their enamel. This loss exposes their underlying dentin and lets stimuli reach dental nerves. In other words, teeth with exposed dentin react strongly to hot or cold temperatures, acids, and more. Such forces will often cause them pain and discomfort.
As for the initial enamel loss, several factors can contribute. Some of the most common ones, though, are:
- Tooth fractures
- Bruxism or tooth grinding
- Bacteria-related tooth decay
- Damaged restorations (i.e., fillings, crowns, etc.)
- Exposed tooth roots, often caused by gum disease
Is Tooth Sensitivity an Urgent Problem?
Speaking generally, most cases of tooth sensitivity aren’t urgent. The issue is usually harmless and quickly goes away on its own. Therefore, the best response is monitoring it to ensure things don’t worsen.
Even so, the occasional exception does exist. Sensitive teeth may persist for weeks or greatly disrupt daily life. In those cases, the problem really is urgent; leaving it unchecked could cause a tooth infection or other damage. You’d then be at risk of tooth or even jawbone loss.
If your sensitive tooth is one of the ‘exceptions,’ see a dentist immediately.
How Can an Emergency Dentist Help?
Based on its cause, an emergency dentist has several ways to treat a sensitive tooth. These include the following:
- Fluoride Work – An in-office option, this procedure places fluoride gel on your teeth. Doing so often insulates a sensitive tooth’s nerves, ensuring it transmits fewer sensations.
- Dental Crowns – A dental crown can cover your tooth’s sensitive area. As a result, its dentin would be less exposed to stimuli.
- Root Canal – Your sensitivity may be severe, persistent, and not treatable by standard services. If so, your dentist could perform a root canal to remove infected tissue. You’d then be free of the nerve causing your ache.
Tooth sensitivity can be a dental emergency at times. Learn to recognize the relevant signs, then, so you’ll be ready if things turn urgent.
About the Author
Dr. Terry F. Rakowsky is a dentist based in Doylestown, PA, having earned his dental doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine. He’s worked in the field for nearly forty years, gaining expertise in many dental arts as a result. Today, his specialties are comprehensive dentistry, emergency dentistry, and Invisalign orthodontics. Dr. Rakowsky currently practices at his self-titled clinic and can be reached at his website or by phone at (215)-348-2224.
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