Why Sensitive Teeth Could Be a Dental Emergency

A woman in need of an emergency dentist in Carrollton.

No matter how old you are or how few cavities you’ve had, chances are you’ve probably experienced tooth sensitivity in the past. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can actually be a sign of a larger dental issue that needs professional attention from an emergency dentist in Carrollton. Keep reading to learn more about how sensitivity occurs, what it could mean, and what your next steps should be so you can avoid a potential dental emergency.

Why Do Teeth Feel Sensitive?

To understand sensitivity, you’ll first need to learn about the overall structure of teeth and how they are made up of specific layers. This includes the enamel, the cementum and the dentin.

The enamel is the thick outer layer that makes up your smile. This layer is responsible for protecting the more vulnerable layers of your tooth, including the cementum (which contains many microscopic tubules and canals that are naturally hollow) and the dentin, a layer that sits just above the inner area (or the pulp) of the tooth.

When enamel wears down, either due to decay, erosion from constant exposure to acidic foods, teeth grinding and clenching, or as a natural result of aging, it becomes less effective at protecting the more sensitive layers. This makes it easier for hot and cold foods and beverages (as well as acidic compounds) to reach the nerves of the teeth. This is what causes the sensitivity you may experience from time to time. In other cases, sensitivity can develop as a result of gum recession, a common sign of moderate to severe gum disease.

Your Tooth is Trying to Tell You Something

While there are many causes for sensitive teeth, it’s not something you should assume will go away on its own. If you notice sensitive teeth in a fleeting sense after having a very hot or cold substance hit your teeth (such as hot coffee, ice cream, chilled water etc.) then it likely is not a dental emergency.

However, if the sensitivity lingers or starts to feel more like discomfort, it could be due to the following:

  • Tooth decay
  • Fractured teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Exposed tooth root

These problems can easily turn into dental emergencies if you don’t get them handled as soon as possible. That’s where an emergency dentist can help.

What Should You Do After Noticing Sensitivity?

The moment you notice lingering sensitivity is the same moment where you should give an emergency dentist a call. From there, they can get you scheduled as soon as possible, ideally the same day that you call, and confirm the exact cause of your emergency before it has a chance to cause severe dental problems that are not only uncomfortable, but expensive to treat.

Don’t let dental problems go ignored! Call an emergency dentist to give your smile peace of mind and avoid the worst-case scenario when it comes to your oral health.

About the Author

Dr. Capua has been practicing in Carrollton for over 30 years now and has the expertise to treat a wide variety of dental emergencies. Of course, she’s also happy to provide sedation to those who may feel nervous or anxious about dental care in general, including for services designed to treat and manage dental emergencies. To schedule an appointment with her and get your tooth sensitivity under control, you can contact her through her website.