To have tooth sensitivity means more than you might think. Because we hear about having sensitive teeth, and how to manage tooth sensitivity with a certain type of toothpaste, it is easy for more people to go without the proper diagnosis and treatment for this common condition. Tooth sensitivity is, in fact, a common problem among adults of all ages. Should you experience the telltale discomfort when you consume something that is either warm or cold, know that there are a few different reasons this could be happening. Also, know that appropriate dental care can resolve the issue.
Sensitivity Could Be a Symptom
Because tooth sensitivity has been discussed more or less as its unique problem, one might miss the fact that, by and large, sensitivity is a symptom of something else. A few of the common dental concerns that could lie beneath sensitivity include:
- Early tooth decay. The formation of a cavity creates an opening through which stimulus has a greater impact on the nerves of a tooth.
- Tooth erosion. Erosion is different than tooth decay. When enamel erodes, the wearing down of a tooth is more widespread. A cavity is localized, erosion affects a far greater amount of a tooth’s surface.
- Gum recession. We don’t typically think of tooth sensitivity as a gum issue, but this is often the case. When gums become inflamed, they pull away from the tooth. When space is created between the tooth and gum tissue, nerves at the root of the tooth are more reactive to stimulus.
Getting to the Heart of the Matter
When you understand tooth sensitivity as a symptom rather than a primary condition, you are better equipped to care for your oral health. Some of the treatment options to decrease tooth sensitivity include:
- Small cavities that are causing sensitivity will ideally be treated with simple tooth-colored fillings. Remember, early care is the best care because small fillings take less time and hold up well for many years. The longer a cavity goes untreated, the more effect there is inside the tooth, where extensive damage can occur at the root.
- Teeth that have eroded may benefit from a dental crown or porcelain veneer. Veneers are typically considered for their cosmetic value, but the extra layer of material over enamel also blunts the sensation to the nerves of the treated tooth.
- Gum recession also responds well to early treatment, which is usually a deep cleaning referred to as scaling and root planing. This deep cleaning, performed with local anesthetic, removes plaque from the root surfaced and smooths that surface so gum tissue can more easily re-attach.
Do you need help with tooth sensitivity? Call our Grayslake office at (847) 223-5200.