The issue of tooth sensitivity has become so commonplace that we tend to think very little of it. When we bite into a popsicle or cold piece of fruit, we aren’t supposed to cringe in pain; we are supposed to relish in the deliciousness of our favorite foods. So, what has happened that this is not a possibility for so many people? And why is it that we aren’t looking beyond the nearest retailer for solutions?
It can be beneficial to learn more about common, mild ailments. There may be a sense of comfort in thinking that tooth sensitivity is a problem unto itself; there are no other factors to think about. To stay in the idea that teeth are “just sensitive” for no reason, though, could lead to much bigger problems.
Sensitivity is a Warning Signal
Discomfort when you eat or drink a warm or cold substance is something to look at, not something to brush under the rug. It is not always a problem to manage. In fact, it is often a warning sign that there is an entirely different problem developing in the mouth. It is important to investigate what that might be. Sensitivity may indicate:
- The formation of a cavity. A cavity is a small area of enamel that has been weakened due to the acidic byproduct of oral bacteria. When a cavity starts, the loss of enamel in the area creates a pinpoint opening for stimulus to affect the nerves of the tooth. Finding a cavity at the source of sensitivity can be a good thing, especially if it is small. A simple filling should eliminate the problem (the cavity) and the symptom (sensitivity).
- Erosion and cavities are similar because they both indicate the wearing down of enamel. However, erosion affects a larger tooth-surface. The generalized thinning-out of enamel presents a risk to the shade of teeth, their resilience, and to the sensation of eating. If enamel is very thin, nerves have very little to absorb the shock of external stimuli. Adding a buffer in the form of a porcelain veneer could create a great deal more comfort.
- Gum recession. Tooth sensitivity could be one of the first indicators of receding gums. When gum tissue releases its hold on a tooth, the root of that tooth is more exposed. Temperature changes in the mouth are more easily felt by nerves located at the root. To treat gum recession, we may suggest a professional cleaning to remove debris from the pocket between the tooth and gums.