You reach for your phone as your morning alarm signals that it is 7 AM. Instead of hitting the “snooze” button, you slip out of bed and head straight for the coffee pot. As you get the fixings together, your kitchen starts to take on the most delectable aroma. After adding milk and sugar to your liking, you take your first sip and are immediately greeted with a surge of pain stemming from your mouth. Tooth sensitivity: 1. You: 0.
Does this scenario sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry reported in 2018 that 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from tooth sensitivity! If you fall into this statistic, read on to learn the common causes, four tips to fight it, and signs that you need to seek treatment.
6 Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
From morning cups of coffee to late-night ice cream runs, tooth sensitivity can negatively impact many of the finer things in life. Although it results in many of the same symptoms (like an ache when drinking a hot beverage), it could be a consequence of a multitude of issues. Here are the six common causes:
- Tooth decay.
- Fractured teeth.
- Worn fillings.
- Gum disease.
- Eroded tooth enamel.
- An exposed tooth root.
4 Tips to Combat Sensitive Teeth
Whether it is a dull, consistent discomfort or sharp, stabbing pain, any irritation stemming from your mouth warrants a trip to the dentist. However, there are a few solutions you can try at home if the symptoms are mild or your appointment is a few days away:
- Use desensitizing toothpaste.
- Don’t consume sugary, fizzy, or acidic drinks that can irritate your teeth and gums.
- Avoid foods and beverages that are extremely hot or cold.
- Practice good dental habits (i.e., replace your toothbrush every quarter, brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, visit your dentist biannually, etc.).
When to Seek Treatment from Your Emergency Dentist
While tooth sensitivity is common, it is important not to dismiss altogether. If the discomfort does not go away or you experience bleeding, swelling, or other abnormal symptoms, then contact your emergency dentist immediately. From there, they can conduct a thorough examination and recommend the best treatment option (i.e., fluoride gel, root canal, etc.).
Although tooth sensitivity doesn’t always necessitate an urgent visit, it is important to remember that it could be a result of an underlying oral health problem. If the tips above don’t help, then be sure to reach out to your dentist right away!
About the Author
Dr. Sajini Shetty attended an accelerated dental program to earn her Doctor of Dental Medicine at Boston University. Over the past two decades, she has completed her Advanced Education in General Dentistry at New Jersey Dental School, attended world-class training at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute, and is now a member of the Spear Education Consortium! If you have been asking yourself, “Why are my teeth sensitive?” don’t hesitate to visit her website or give her a call at 603-429-2199.