Does tooth sensitivity indicate something wrong?

A dental mirror held up to a smiling mouth.

When you have sensitive teeth, you may suddenly feel shooting pain or bouts of discomfort when eating or drinking anything hot, cold, or sweet.

While dental erosion or enamel loss is the most common reason linked to increased tooth sensitivity, there are other potential reasons.

Sometimes, the pain goes away after some time. But there are also instances when it recurs or persists. In any case, consider talking to your dentist about it so they can help you identify the root cause and address it.

Potential causes of tooth sensitivity

Several factors can cause sensitive teeth to develop.

  • Aggressive brushing. Brushing too hard can cause the enamel to erode and expose the layer beneath it called the dentin. The dentin is connected to tiny tubes that lead to the nerves, which trigger the sensitivity when the teeth are exposed to changing temperatures, among many others.
  • Gum disease. An infection in the gum tissue may also lead to sensitive teeth. The gums can pull back from the teeth, making the roots more easily accessible. Gum disease can be easily reversed in its early stages. Boosting your dental care routine can prevent gum recession from progressing.
  • Chipped, fractured, or cracked tooth. Broken, damaged, or weak teeth can also cause the dentin to become exposed, increasing tooth sensitivity. The damaged teeth can become infected, and the infection can reach the pulp. If this is the cause of your sensitive teeth, you may only feel discomfort in a certain area of your mouth.
  • Worn fillings. An old or worn filling can also cause the teeth to become more sensitive as the layer beneath the enamel becomes more prominent.
  • Tooth grinding or clenching. Grinding and clenching the teeth can also damage the enamel, cause it to wear faster, and expose the dentin.
  • Dental procedures. Procedures such as tooth whitening can also leave the teeth sensitive as a temporary side effect. The sensitivity should subside after a few days or weeks.

When should I worry about tooth sensitivity?

You may be asking if tooth sensitivity is a bad thing or an indication that something is wrong. Tooth sensitivity isnโ€™t necessarily serious. Its gravity depends on its cause.

Sometimes, it can be due to dental erosion or cracks in the tooth. But no matter your suspected cause, it helps to visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Erosion does not happen quickly. You can prevent it from progressing, and you can also work with your dentist to address the causes of tooth sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity sometimes resolves on its own, such as when it is experienced due to a dental procedure. But there are cases when it lingers or worsens. In this regard, donโ€™t delay seeking advice from health care providers.

If the pain is keeping you up or is preventing you from eating, you may also request same day emergency dental services.

Seeing a dentist in Red Deer, AB, regarding sensitive teeth

Tooth sensitivity may indicate a problem, but the cause does not necessarily need to be serious. Several treatment options are available, depending on the cause of the sensitivity. You may need dental fillings, crowns, o deep hygiene cleanings.

If youโ€™re in Red Deer, Alberta, and are worried about a tooth or teeth that have become sensitive, contact us today at Image Dental Care. Letโ€™s book you for an initial consultation with the dentist.

Letโ€™s identify whatโ€™s causing the problem and put an end to the persistent or recurring discomfort.