If you have recently damaged a tooth through decay or trauma, you may be experiencing a higher level of dental sensitivity. Eating foods that are hot or cold may be unusually uncomfortable. Foods such as ice cream that are extremely cold may be intolerable.
Tooth enamel covers the porous layer of the tooth, which is called "dentin." Dentin houses tiny tubules that lead to dental nerves, which are sensitive to changes in pressure and temperature. When dentin becomes exposed by erosion or accessed through the pores of your tooth enamel, dental sensitivity can ensue. Dental sensitivity may also be caused by inflammation in the pulp of your tooth. Here are a few ways to treat the sensitivity:
If your dental sensitivity is due to enamel erosion, you may benefit from the application of fluoride. Fluoride does prevent cavities, but it also decreases tooth sensitivity using the same mechanism.
When fluoride is applied to a tooth, it coats your tooth enamel and attracts calcium and phosphate minerals back to the damaged areas to remineralize the tooth. As the tooth becomes remineralized, access to the dentin is more restricted.
If you purchase toothpaste that is specially made for sensitive teeth over-the-counter, it will likely include a nerve-soothing compound called potassium nitrate. Potassium nitrate fills the tubules inside the dentin of the sensitive tooth and decreases sensitivity.
Dental Bonding Material
If some of a tooth's root has been exposed due to receding gums, the coating that protects the root of your tooth may have worn away. This coating, which is called "cementum," is not as erosion-resistant as enamel. Your dentist may apply a dental bonding compound that is made from resin to seal the exposed area of root.
If the pulp inside the root canals of your tooth is infected or inflamed, your tooth may be more sensitive than usual. Your dentist may suggest a root canal procedure to remove the sensitive nerve, along with the rest of the tooth's pulp. Once the pulp and nerves have been removed, your dentist disinfects the interior of the tooth and seals it before a dental crown is applied to complete the restoration.
Your teeth can become more sensitive due to acid erosion, a dental infection, trauma or a whitening application. However, dental sensitivity is treatable. There are over-the-counter treatments, such as desensitizing toothpaste. Still, it is best to consult with your dentist before attempting to treat a sensitive tooth. The underlying cause of your condition could require a root canal procedure. If you are experiencing dental sensitivity, contact a general dentistry professional today.