Have you ever bitten into a sugary or cold food and experienced a sharp jolt of pain shoot through your tooth? This sensation can be excruciating, even if it is intermittent. Dentists refer to this pain as tooth sensitivity.
Your dentist can evaluate your smile and alleviate your symptoms based on what is causing this pain. Call your dentist for an emergency appointment, even if you consider this pain tolerable. Dr. Jason Baldwin, a dentist serving patients in Truckee, CA, responds to frequently asked questions regarding tooth sensitivity causation and treatment.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity pain occurs when the outer layer of the tooth, enamel, wears down or becomes damaged, exposing the underlying dentin. Dentin contains nerves that send pain signals to the brain when exposed to stimulation. This is why sensitivity pain often feels like it comes and goes.
This does not mean that the symptom is not a dental emergency. Enamel erosion can mean that the interior of your tooth is at great risk of further harm. The weakened enamel may have also been caused by a larger dental problem that requires prompt treatment from a dental professional.
Enamel may erode due to consuming acidic foods over time. It may also occur in relation to factors outside of a patient’s control, like aging.
However, an injury such as tooth breakage or tooth decay can also wear down enamel and cause tooth sensitivity. When your dentist completes dental work, such as a filling or crown, they must remove a minute amount of tooth enamel. So if the dental fixture becomes loose or breaks, you may also feel sensitivity pain.
How Will My Dentist Treat Sensitivity Pain?
The treatment that you can expect from your dentist for your tooth sensitivity will vary depending on the causation of your symptoms. For mild cases of sensitivity due to enamel erosion, a dentist may suggest using a desensitizing toothpaste that will block stimulation from affecting nerves and creating pain.
If tooth sensitivity comes from tooth decay, your dentist can treat a cavity by drilling away the damaged portion of the tooth and filling the resulting hole with composite resin to seal the area. More advanced decay might need to be covered with a dental crown. Repairing and replacing broken fillings and crowns will similarly treat this pain.
When you visit your dentist with tooth sensitivity, the dental professional will thoroughly examine your smile to determine the underlying issue and provide the appropriate treatment. Once the problem is resolved, the symptoms should be alleviated as well.
Learn More from Your Dentist in Truckee, CA
Dr. Baldwin offers dental crowns and other restorative dental treatments to patients in Truckee, CA. Our practice also specializes in general, implant, and cosmetic dentistry, including professional teeth whitening services. If you feel nervous about upcoming dental work, ask your dental professional about sedation dentistry options. To schedule a consultation or appointment with our team, contact our staff by phone at 530.206.0392 or reach our office online.