Tooth sensitivity can cover a wide range of symptoms and a variety of causes. When patients see a dentist for tooth sensitivity, it may be serious or it may not be. Most of the time people have no idea what their body is trying to tell them, so they need a dentist to take a look for them.
Tooth sensitivity isn’t anything that you should overlook. Although it may be minor, certain types of sensitivity can mean big dental problems. Here are a few common types of sensitivity, and their most likely causes:
Sweet sensitivity is a red flag for cavities. Although a lot of people say they don’t eat sweets, you can also feel sweet sensitivity from your juice, sweetened coffee, tea, or other drinks with natural or artificial sweeteners in them.
If a tooth is sensitive to hot foods or drinks, there is most likely some form of damage to the internal nerve of the tooth. It may be sensitive to cold as well. See a dentist immediately.
Most of the time, cold sensitivity is just a reaction of exposed nerve endings within the microscopic pores of the tooth. It can be caused by gum recession, toothbrush abrasion, or whitening products. Severe gum recession must be treated clinically. If minor cold sensitivity is reversed with sensitivity toothpaste, it is probably not a problem.
If the tooth hurts when pressure is applied through biting or chewing forces, it may mean there is swelling at the tip of the root, or infection around the tooth within the gum and bone tissue. Gum disease affects the ligaments and bone that hold teeth in place, and when force is applied to the tooth these ligaments may be very tender.
If you’ve had tooth sensitivity that lasts longer than 2 weeks, schedule a visit with your dentist.
Posted on behalf of Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
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