Perhaps 75% of people suffer from tooth sensitivity. Often, this is because their teeth have experienced some damage due to acid, which can expose dentin tubules, small tubes that can transmit heat and cold from the surface of the tooth to the tooth nerve. This is not necessarily a problem, and people with this type of sensitivity are recommended to use a toothpaste designed to reduce sensitivity.
However, sometimes your sensitivity may be due to other problems, so it’s important to talk to a dentist in Columbia, SC about your sensitivity to determine its true cause. Here are some other potential causes of tooth sensitivity, and how they might be treated.
Metal Amalgam Fillings
Metal is an excellent conductor of heat and cold, so if you have large metal amalgam fillings, they can make your teeth very sensitive to temperature changes. A dentist can also look at your fillings to learn whether they may be compromised by decay around the edges, which can also cause sensitivity.
Remedy: A smile makeover, which not only removes the unattractive metal amalgam, it replaces it with other materials that can make your teeth less sensitive.
Exposed Tooth Root
The upper part of the tooth, the crown, is covered with enamel that is supposed to be exposed. It is fairly resilient to temperature changes and other stimuli, but your tooth root is made of a different material, called cementum, that is not as resistant to changing conditions. If your gums recede, your tooth root may be exposed, and you may feel sensitivity. A dentist will look at your gums and make an evaluation.
Remedy: Often changing your hygiene routine will allow your gums to grow back. Other times, however, you may need periodontal therapy to get rid of gum infections and facilitate regrowth of your gums.
Decayed or Infected Tooth
When a tooth suffers significant decay, there is less enamel to protect the tooth nerve from changes in temperature, making it sensitive.
An infected tooth can be very sensitive. It can result in significant pain when exposed to any type of food, temperature changes, or pressure. The pain may last much longer than the stimulus that caused it. Many people would describe this as tooth pain, not tooth sensitivity.
Remedy: Root canal therapy can remove the infected tooth root, fill the space with inert material, and cover the entire thing with a protective tooth crown that can eliminate sensitivity and give you ten years or more of additional life out of that tooth.
If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, don’t just try to live with it, get it checked out to learn whether it’s something serious that needs attention, or just something you can approach with over-the-counter remedies.