If eating or drinking has become too painful to enjoy, it may be time to find a dentist.
Tooth sensitivity is a major problem that affects millions of Americans each year. It is a condition that rears its ugly head when performing normal, everyday activities such as eating, drinking, brushing, or flossing. It may affect one or more teeth and can make itself known without warning.
Teeth may become sensitive due to dental caries (cavities), fractures, old or worn-out fillings, gingivitis, exposed roots, or worn enamel. Occasional tooth sensitivity may not be due to any of these factors. However, if there is a known physical cause, it is time to find a dentist who can identify and treat the underlying issues. Without intervention, any of these conditions may lead to severe oral health problems.
Once you find a dentist, he or she will go over your options based on a personalized treatment plan. This may include a combination of desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride gels, or dental work. Minor procedures, such as fillings, may be performed in the office on the day of your initial visit. Your provider may also suggest dental bonding, crowns, or inlays.
Extreme cases of tooth sensitivity may require a surgical gum graft or root canal. If your dentist does not provide these advanced services, he or she will help you find a dentist that specializes in advanced restorative dentistry.
Preemptive care is the key to preventing most cases of tooth sensitivity. Proper oral hygiene is the best way to circumvent deterioration of the teeth and gums. This includes brushing at least twice a day, regular flossing, and maintaining a relationship with a dental provider. Most dentists recommend cleanings twice a year and x-rays every 12 months to keep an eye out for potential issues.