Are Sensitive Teeth a Dental Emergency?

When you sip on a fresh, steaming cup of coffee or a frozen slushy, does your tooth tingle or ache? Sensitive teeth can be inconvenient and keep you from enjoying all the foods and drinks that you normally would. While this is a common oral health issue in America, sometimes it could be a symptom of a more serious problem, requiring a visit to your emergency dentist. Read on to learn what could be causing your tooth sensitivity and how you can prevent it.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

If consuming hot or cold items is sometimes or always an uncomfortable experience for you, then you probably have sensitive teeth. A study appearing in the Journal of the American Dental Association conducted a survey that found that one out of every eight Americans suffers from this dental issue. A variety of reasons can cause it, some more serious than others, including:

  • Dental decay (cavities)
  • Fractured or damaged teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Eroded tooth enamel
  • Exposed tooth root

The outermost layer of your tooth, the enamel, is what protects the more layers, the dentin and pulp. When these become exposed to extreme temperatures and harmful oral bacteria because they’re not protected by the enamel, it can cause distracting, sometimes painful, hypersensitivity.

How Do You Know When To Visit the Emergency Dentist?

This issue isn’t always as urgent as it may seem, but in some cases, you’ll want to visit your emergency dentist to avoid further damage. If your discomfort and pain caused by your sensitive teeth is distracting and continues to occur, then it’s time to schedule an appointment. If the cause is due to an exposed tooth root or gum disease, leaving the issue untreated will only make it worse. It will begin to wreak even more havoc on your oral health and cause additional damage such as tooth loss. The sooner you get the issue taken care of, the less costly and invasive treatments will be needed.

How Can You Prevent Sensitivity?

If you notice that your teeth are sensitive and visit your dentist, they may suggest some of these treatment options:

  • Desensitizing/enamel-strengthening toothpaste.
  • Fluoride gel to remineralize your enamel.
  • A dental restoration such as a crown to protect the sensitive layers of your tooth.
  • Surgical gum graft to protect the exposed root of your tooth.
  • Root canal therapy to remove any infected or damaged pulp.

The best way to avoid experiencing tooth sensitivity is to keep up with your oral hygiene routine at home. You can do this by brushing twice each day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. Visiting your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning can also ensure that the small problems are treated before they progress and start causing you pain.

About the Author

Dr. Ben Naylor takes the time to get to know each of his patients and treat them individually. While he was in dental school, he gained a special interest and passion for tooth extractions, implant placement, and other surgical procedures. He enjoys solving complex cases and providing his patients with relief from any discomfort or pain they may be experiencing. He takes pride in building long-term relationships with his patients and understanding their needs. For questions or to schedule an appointment for a dental emergency, visit Mountain Stream Dental’s website or call 541-345-5363.


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