We often speak with patients about their dental concerns, both general and cosmetic. We support oral health with discussion and demonstration of brushing and flossing techniques, perform all levels of restorative and cosmetic care, and even think about things that may not come up very often, like tooth sensitivity.
The touchy subject of tooth sensitivity has become more common in recent years. So much so that products to blunt the discomfort some people feel when consuming hot or cold items have been developed. This may seem helpful, and it can be, in some instances. However, the fact that sensitivity is presented in the light of a problem may make far too many people completely miss the possibility of sensitivity as a warning sign.
Problem or Symptom?
Aching teeth, even for a short period, is not something you want to live with. The goal is to get to the heart of the matter, and that means considering what else may be happening in the mouth. When we can understand why teeth are sensitive, we have the power to correct the problem at its origin. That origin may be:
- Tooth decay. Sensitivity is one of the earliest indicators that a tooth is under attack. Sometimes the sensitivity is felt at the source and sometimes referred pain occurs elsewhere in the mouth. If you were to think that mild sensitivity was merely a normal problem, you might miss the chance to repair a cavity while it is still small.
- Tooth erosion. The shell of enamel that covers the softer areas of teeth is necessary for biting and chewing. Enamel needs to be strong and resilient to prevent chipping and fractures, discoloration, and also sensitivity. This is because, without that buffer of enamel, there are only soft tissues between the oral environment and the nerves of teeth. When enamel wears away excessively, veneers may be a suitable treatment to restore the structure, not to mention beauty and comfort.
- Gum inflammation. When gingival is inflamed, the gums will recede away from the base of a tooth or teeth, making the root area susceptible to reactivity. The root is very near to the nerves of a tooth, which creates a prime entry for sensitivity to occur. Cleaning out the pockets in between teeth and gums, and smoothing the surface of the exposed root, if necessary, may correct or improve the problem.
Schedule a visit to our Palm Beach Gardens general and cosmetic dentistry office at (561) 627-9000.