What causes sensitive teeth? Your emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE explains:
Are you experiencing sensitive teeth and wondering if you should call an emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE? There are many potential causes for sensitive teeth. Many of the causes of sensitive teeth are easily treatable and preventable, and there is no cause for emergency dental treatment.
In our article we will discuss the most common causes of sensitive teeth and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.
Gum recession is a common cause of sensitive teeth. This occurs when root surfaces become exposed above the gum-line. This can happen due to grinding and clenching the teeth, brushing aggressively with abrasive toothpaste and medium or hard bristle toothbrushes, or a history of orthodontic treatment resulting in receded gums.
When aggressive tooth-brushing techniques are used, it is possible to remove thin layers of dentin, which is the tooth structure that is exposed in recession. Furthermore, this allows liquids, acids, and air to move through the tooth more easily, reacting with the nerve within the tooth.
Other reasons for sensitive teeth are erosion of the enamel by acids from food, diet or stomach problems, gum disease, grinding teeth, whitening teeth or cracked teeth or fillings.
Sensitive Teeth and Whitening
Many teeth bleaching agents contain peroxides which can cause sensitivity. Sensitivity from whitening usually goes away after stopping the application for a few days. There are professional whitening products that contain desensitizing agents as well as methods you can use to manage sensitivity during your whitening at home. Talk to your Lincoln, NE dentist about any concerns you may have about sensitivity during whitening.
Sensitive Teeth and Recent Dental Work
Recent deep cleanings and placement of fillings or crowns can result in temporary dental sensitivity. Dental work is essentially micro-surgery on a tooth. The sensitivity after dental treatment is from the normal inflammatory response created by the body for healing. For patients who have chronic inflammatory medical conditions or autoimmune diseases, the inflammatory response can be more intense and the healing time can be delayed. This inflammation of the nerve in your tooth should be temporary and should gradually decrease over time. If your tooth sensitivity increases significantly and disturbs your sleep, contact your emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE for an exam.
Sensitive Teeth and Cracked teeth or fillings
Chewing ice, biting into hard candies, or having large older fillings in the teeth can eventually lead to cracked or broken teeth. Cracks and fractures can allow bacteria from the oral cavity to enter the inner part of the tooth, leading to inflammation of the nerve and potentially cause a tooth infection if untreated. If you are experiencing a sharp, electrical-shock sensation when biting down, this could be a sign of a cracked tooth. If the tooth has started to ache or throb, you should call your emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE to schedule an appointment.
Sensitive Teeth and Grinding / Clenching Your Teeth
Clenching and grinding can cause enamel to wear away as well as accelerate gum recession. Grinding also inflicts stress on the nerve of the tooth and can make teeth ache and become sensitive. Wearing a nightguard can help minimize damage to the teeth and dental restorations over time.
Sensitive Teeth and Tooth Decay
Tooth decay can expose the inner layers of your teeth to temperatures from foods and liquids and allow bacteria inside of the tooth. This can cause sensitivity and if untreated, more severe tooth discomfort. Practicing excellent home-care, eating healthy and seeing your Lincoln, NE dentist on a regular basis can help prevent cavities.
Cavities and New Fillings Post Operative Directions on Managing Dental Discomfort:
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
To prevent further recession or abrasion of teeth, it is a good idea to avoid abrasive kinds of toothpaste and instead use sensitivity toothpaste. Brushing gently with a soft or extra soft toothbrush will prevent burnishing the exposed root surfaces further.
Many healthy foods are high in acid like tomatoes and citrus. These acids can erode tooth enamel and irritate exposed dentin. For this reason, it is a good idea to rinse with water after eating an acidic meal. Do not brush teeth immediately after eating sour foods, as this can cause further erosion. Thus, waiting at least 45 minutes to brush after a high acid meal is ideal.
What kind of sensitivity toothpaste is good for sensitive teeth?
There are many brands of sensitivity toothpaste on the market. Sensodyne is made with potassium nitrate salts and fluoride, which have been shown to help desensitize teeth by blocking the dentinal tubules and preventing stimulation of the nerve. For patients who would like a natural, fluoride-free option for sensitivity, Tom’s of Maine has an outstanding product on the market. Recent research has suggested a more rapid and long-lasting effect from the ingredient arginine and calcium carbonate than more commonly used potassium nitrates. Tom’s Sensitivity Rapid Relief toothpaste contains arginine and calcium carbonate.
Regardless of what sensitivity toothpaste is used, it is important to use it on a daily basis for optimal results. Labels on sensitivity toothpaste often state to only use them for a few weeks. This statement is only made to discourage patients from putting off seeing their dentist if they are experiencing dental discomfort. There are no health risks with continued use of desensitizing agents. If you are unsure about what you should do because of discomfort, simply google “emergency dentist near me.” A quick phone call may be all you need. It is possible that you may be given an at home remedy to try. Worse case scenario may be that you need to go in and let an emergency dentist fix your discomfort. That’s not so bad! After all, nobody wants to be miserable.
Gently brushing sensitivity toothpaste on for two minutes and not rinsing after brushing to allow the toothpaste to stay in place is the recommended application method. If patients have areas with more severe sensitivity, they may apply a small amount of paste with a finger and allow it to stay on the tooth.
What can dentists do about sensitive teeth?
Depending on the reasons for sensitivity, your Lincoln, NE dentist can apply fluoride varnish or prescribe rinses or toothpaste. Typically, these are for use at home. They contain higher levels of fluoride or potassium nitrates and arginine calcium carbonates. If the sensitivity does not go away, it is possible to bond composite material to the exposed dentin.
Commonly Asked Questions:
My tooth did not hurt before fixing cavities, but after my dental work, I have a severe toothache. Why?
Any time dental work is performed on a tooth, the tooth’s nerve becomes irritated and inflamed as a natural part of the healing process. After all, dental work is essentially micro-surgery on a tooth. After any surgery, patients can expect some tenderness and sensitivity. Taking alternating doses of Tylenol and ibuprofen will help reduce inflammation of the nerve while the tooth is healing. If the discomfort increases and becomes a throbbing sensation, patients should contact their emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE as soon as possible because this is a sign that the nerve did not heal normally after the dental treatment and they may need a root canal. If your dentist does not provide emergency services you can always search “emergency dentist near me” to locate an emergency dentist.
My teeth are very sensitive to hot and cold after recent fillings, is it normal?
Sensitive teeth after recent dental work is completely normal. The nerve becomes irritated after a filling is placed, making the tooth sensitive. Over time this sensitivity will subside. You can take ibuprofen and Tylenol to reduce sensitivity during this phase of healing. If the sensitivity is becoming worse, be sure to look up an “emergency dentist near me” to schedule an appointment. If you don’t see an emergency dentist, make sure to schedule one with your regular dentist. He or she will make sure your tooth is healing normally. If you are having extreme sensitivity after hours, please call your emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE. They may have suggestions for things that you can try at home or it is possible they may need you to come in and be seen.
My tooth is very sensitive to biting after recent dental work, is it normal?
Patients are numb during dental work, and are unable to bite and chew normally until the anesthesia wears off. Sometimes this causes the tooth to feel sore and bruised when the patient bites down. This can be adjusted by your Lincoln, NE dentist when the patient is no longer numb.
What can I do to ease a persistent toothache after recent dental work?
Your tooth may ache or be sensitive to cold or hot temperatures after you have had dental work done. Sensitive teeth after dental work are the body’s way of healing itself after the procedure and is completely normal. The discomfort you are feeling is temporary and will eventually go away. You can take over-the-counter medications and use sensitivity toothpaste to manage the inflammation until the tooth has finished healing. Patients with compromised immune systems such as those who are in treatment for cancer, suffer from chronic inflammatory medical conditions or autoimmune diseases. Unfortunately, these patients are more likely to experience heightened post-operative sensitivity symptoms. Therefore, requiring more time to heal after treatment. If your discomfort is increasing, you should call your Lincoln, NE dentist for an appointment to make sure your tooth is healing properly.
How long will my tooth hurt after a filling?
Every case is different. If the tooth required extensive treatment and had a very deep cavity, your tooth may be sensitive longer than if your dental work was only minor. Of course, the degree of sensitivity can differ between individual patients. In fact, patients who have autoimmune diseases or chronic inflammatory medical conditions generally have delayed healing time. Therefore, if several months have gone by and your discomfort has only increased, you should talk to your emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE . If you don’t know of an emergency dentist, simply search “emergency dentist near me,” and that should help you narrow down someone that is conveniently located, but more importantly willing to see you when you are in discomfort and need relief. It is possible that the nerve of your tooth did not recover normally. This is something that can happen after treatment. Consequently, you may need a root canal.
I had a dental crown placed and now I have a toothache after getting my new crown. Is it normal?
One reason why you are experiencing a toothache after a crown is that the nerve of your tooth is irritated and just needs some time to recover after the procedure. Another reason is that your new crown may need minor adjustments is because you were unable to bite and chew normally when the dentist was adjusting your crown under anesthesia. The third reason is that the nerve of your tooth did not heal normally after the procedure. Your tooth is in an irreversibly inflamed state, thus requiring a root canal. If you are experiencing severe discomfort, you should call your emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE.
I had a dental bridge placed, and now I have sharp discomfort years later, Is it normal to have discomfort/ toothache under my dental bridge?
Generally, anytime a patient has sudden sharp discomfort in a tooth that has had dental work in the past, this is not a good sign. Cavities do not hurt unless they are close to the nerve. It is likely that the supporting teeth of the bridge have recurrent tooth decay that has reached the nerve and become infected. Anytime you experience sudden sharp discomfort in a tooth that lasts, you should call your emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE for an appointment.
What is a great sensitivity prevention toothpaste to help stop toothaches after dental work?
It’s a great idea to immediately start using sensitivity toothpaste after dental treatment. Continue using it for several weeks afterwards. It does not matter which brand you choose, just make sure your toothpaste is for sensitive teeth. Sensitivity toothpastes contain the active ingredients potassium nitrate and arginine calcium carbonates which help to reduce sensitivity over time. For excellent results, brush for 2 minutes with the sensitivity toothpaste and do not rinse after spitting. This allows the toothpaste to stay on your teeth longer, undiluted.
Can I get a cavity under a new filling?
Dental work does not last a person’s lifetime in the majority of cases. The bacteria, moisture, temperature changes and chewing forces our dental work sustain all contribute to the breakdown of the margins and formation of cavities. To help prolong the life of your dental work you can brush twice a day, floss daily, rinse with an antimicrobial rinse like Listerine and avoid soda and candy between meals. If your dentist has noticed abnormal wear on your teeth, it is a good idea to wear a night guard. In fact, doing this can protect your fillings from chipping and breaking.
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