June 14, 2022
Given the dental issues you could have, tooth sensitivity can seem harmless. You may think it’ll fade after you’ve been careful around it for a while. Even so, there are times when a sensitive tooth can point to serious oral health problems. In those cases, it’s best to see an emergency dentist for treatment. That said, when does such sensitivity call for professional help? To answer that question, here’s a summary of how to tell if your sensitive tooth needs emergency care.
Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive?
Sensitive teeth can stem from various things. To know whether your soreness should get urgent attention, it helps to learn the common triggers beforehand. Below are some example causes of dental sensitivity:
- Fractured, Broken Teeth
- Tooth Decay (i.e., cavities)
- Periodontitis (i.e., gum disease)
- An Exposed Tooth Root
- Worn Fillings
Conditions like those above erode your teeth’s enamel, revealing the dentin layer underneath. When that layer is stimulated by hot, cold, acidic, or sticky foods, your teeth feel sensitive.
Should You See an Emergency Dentist?
At the end of the day, it depends on what’s causing your sensitive tooth.
Sometimes, sensitivity comes from natural wear and tear. Enamel can thin from age, as part of cosmetic dental work (i.e., veneers), etc. Tooth sensitivity from these things isn’t a big deal, though you should alert your dentist about it at your next checkup.
On the other hand, sore teeth caused by tooth decay or gum disease are dental emergencies. This latter sensitivity is likely due to an infection that needs immediate root canal therapy. Otherwise, you risk further complications like tooth loss.
At-Home Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity
Unless your tooth is sensitive because of conditions like gum disease, you can probably manage it on your own. Just follow these practices to ease any dental soreness:
- Use Desensitizing Toothpaste: You can normally find desensitizing toothpaste at your local grocery store. The product has ingredients that block the transmission of senses from tooth surfaces to the brain. You can see results after just a few uses.
- Brush Your Teeth with a Soft-bristled Toothbrush: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing to avoid harming your enamel.
- Don’t Eat Acidic Foods: The acids in some foods and drinks can erode enamel and make teeth sensitive. To protect your smile, don’t each much of these items.
Tooth sensitivity doesn’t have to lead to a trip to the emergency dentist’s office. Remember the tips above to keep your smile from getting extra sore or achy.
About the Author
Dr. Shiloh Lindsey is a dentist based in Fort Collins, CO, having graduated from the University of Colorado’s School of Dental Medicine. Born and raised in the area, she’s been working as a dentist in the Colorado community for roughly twenty years. Over that time, her studies have included a lot of ongoing education to perfect her dental work. Currently, her services include preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. Dr. Lindsey can be reached by phone at (970)-221-3700.
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