If you experience sharp, temporary tooth pain when eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth, you could just have sensitive teeth or something more serious like a tooth infection. The pain usually occurs when consuming something hot or cold. Though the discomfort is sharp and unpleasant, and may only last for a moment, it should not be ignored. Call us today if you are experiencing these symptoms.
Sensitive teeth treatment can improve your quality of life and prevent pain from occurring. Dr. Todd of Elite Endodontics in Pensacola, FL, will customize a treatment plan for your tooth sensitivity based on the cause of the issue.
Causes for Sensitive Teeth
Though endodontic pain from hot and cold foods and beverages is commonly associated with tooth sensitivity, that is not the only symptom of the condition. You can also experience discomfort from cold air, alcohol-based mouthwashes, sweets, and acidic foods and beverages. The sensitivity can range from mild to severe, and it may come and go for seemingly no reason.
Sensitive teeth have several causes, which Dr. Todd will address as he creates a sensitive teeth treatment plan. Ultimately, the root of endodontic sensitivity is the lack of a thick enamel layer on teeth. Tooth enamel protects teeth from bacteria, wear and tear, and acids from foods and bacteria byproducts. However, a thin enamel exposes the tooth’s nerve endings, which can cause pain.
Enamel can prematurely thin due to:
- Rigorous tooth brushing
- Brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush
- Nighttime teeth grinding
- Frequently eating or drinking acidic foods and drinks
It’s also possible to develop sensitive teeth if you have certain medical conditions. For example, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is an illness in which acid from the stomach and esophagus comes up and may enter the mouth. Over time, the acid can wear down teeth prematurely.
Another issue is gum recession. Gum disease and genetics sometimes cause the tissues to recede and expose more of a tooth’s surface layer. These sections of teeth do not have the same protections as the upper layers, so tooth sensitivity can develop.
Chipped teeth, broken teeth, and tooth decay might not wear down enamel prematurely, but they can expose a tooth’s nerve endings, leading to sensitivity. That type of tooth damage will only cause pain or discomfort around the affected tooth, not the whole mouth.
How We Diagnose Sensitive Teeth
At Elite Endodontics, our process for diagnosing sensitive teeth begins with taking your endodontic history. Dr. Todd will ask about your pain, where it occurs, how it feels, and what triggers the discomfort.
Next, he will visually examine your teeth to detect possible causes for endodontic sensitivity, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or a cracked tooth. Dr. Todd may use x-ray imaging to determine if you have exposed nerve endings or another issue that could cause sensitivity. Dr. Todd will recommend the ideal sensitive teeth treatment for your situation based on his findings.
Sensitive Teeth Treatment in Pensacola
Our sensitive teeth treatment for our patients varies. We may recommend a root canal to address severe pain radiating from a single tooth. If the tooth’s nerve endings are exposed or its soft core is infected, the root canal will eliminate the problem at its source along with the sensitivity the damage causes.
A root canal might not be the best solution for sensitive teeth. If thin enamel is the problem, Dr. Todd may refer you back to your general dentist for a customized treatment plan.
Fluoride treatment may also work for thinning enamel. It strengthens enamel and reduces pain. Alternatively, if you have an exposed root surface, bonding resin may be a more suitable treatment to cover the root surface
What You Can Do to Reduce or Prevent Tooth Sensitivity
At-home sensitive teeth treatment is an excellent way to minimize or eliminate pain while keeping your teeth in ideal condition. For instance, you can swap a hard toothbrush for one with soft bristles and gently brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle. This technique, coupled with desensitizing toothpaste, can keep your enamel from wearing down too quickly.
You can also protect your tooth enamel by reducing the acidic foods and beverages you consume and not clenching your teeth. See our post-op instructions for more information.