sensitive tooth

What Does it Mean When your Tooth becomes Sensitive Suddenly?

Kingston TN

Our teeth are one of the strongest structures in our bodies, although they aren’t indestructible. Teeth sometimes experience mild sensitivity when drinking an icy cold drink or eating ice cream, which is usually normal and nothing to be concerned about. But other times, tooth sensitivity or zings of pain in a tooth could be cause for concern. How can you tell the difference? Today on the blog, our family dentists in Kingston at LakeView Dental Arts share what it means when your tooth becomes sensitive suddenly.

The first step in determining if your tooth sensitivity is serious or not is to pinpoint the level of sensation that you’re experiencing, how long it lasts, and how often it occurs.

What type of discomfort do you experience?

Most adults and children experience occasional tooth sensitivity. Normal tooth sensitivity may range from a quick sensation to a zing of pain that subsides within seconds. But if that zing of pain feels intolerable, lasts longer than a few seconds, or turns into a dull ache, you likely require dental care for your condition.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

The outermost tooth layer is the enamel, which acts as an insulator to the tooth’s pulp where the blood supply and nerve are housed. If the enamel layer is compromised like from a crack or break or wears thin, cold substances may invoke sensitivity, discomfort, or intolerable pain. Teeth have feelings, and when you experience a zing of pain, it could be caused by worn enamel, or a crack or a fractured tooth, which may not be obvious by looking at your teeth in a mirror. Other times a tooth may cause pain or discomfort if it has substantial decay or is broken, exposing the tooth’s nerve. Sometimes, tooth sensitivity occurs right after receiving dental treatment like for a filling, crown, or root canal. These sensations can be normal, although should subside within a few days. If not, talk to your dentist about your discomfort. Additionally, gum recession, which is common as you age, can also lead to tooth sensitivity, although usually is not serious.

When is tooth sensitivity a problem?

Tooth sensitivity is a problem if the tooth is compromised. That means, if it is cracked, broken, decayed, or otherwise not structurally sound and requires a restoration, then you should get the problem addressed as soon as possible. Otherwise, if your teeth are structurally sound, then you may be able to manage your tooth sensitivity at home by modifying your diet like avoiding icy cold drinks or drinking through a straw and using sensitivity-reducing toothpastes. However, if the problem persists or affects your ability to enjoy food and maintain a balanced diet, then talk to your dentist about professional dental treatments to protect your teeth for the long term.

How is tooth sensitivity treated?

Treatment for tooth sensitivity varies, depending on the patient’s needs. In some cases, fluoride varnish helps by sealing the enamel and blocking the effects of temperature changes on your teeth. In other, more severe cases, patients may require restorations to cover their teeth. Dental crowns can be placed over problem teeth, covering the entire tooth, and protecting it from exposure to cold substances. Additionally, laser gum surgery can help reduce tooth sensitivity by restoring gum recession.

Family Dentists in Kingston, Tennessee

If you experience tooth sensitivity, don’t ignore it because the problem could be more serious than you think. And ignoring it will only worsen the discomfort. Therefore, please contact LakeView Dental Arts by calling (865) 248-2199 to learn more ways to protect against tooth sensitivity.

Scroll to Top