Is Sensitivity a Problem or a Symptom?
- Posted on: Oct 15 2017
Either way, you look at it, having sensitive teeth is a problem, right? No one could say it’s a walk in the park to feel the pang and ache of sensitivity when trying to enjoy a lovely meal or luscious treat. The fact of the matter is, tooth sensitivity is an issue for millions of people. It is such a common issue that we see advertisements on how to manage comfort levels using a specific type of toothpaste. The problem with this kind of marketing is that it sets sensitivity up as a problem. In many cases, though, it is merely a symptom of something gone awry in the mouth.
What Sensitivity May Signal
When we think about it, sensitivity can almost always be traced to one thing or another. There are three common conditions that typically make it difficult to relish in a hot cup of tea or a bowl of ice cream. These include:
- A cavity does not need to be large for the damaged tooth to begin blaring the warning siren of sensitivity. Only a small amount of thinning of a pinpoint area of enamel is needed to heighten responsiveness in underlying nerves.
- A cavity is a small area of enamel that has been eaten-through, basically, by acidity. Erosion is more widespread, involving a large percentage of the tooth. Enamel that has been extensively worn away by persistent acidity is less effective at protecting roots from stimulation.
- Receding gums. Gum disease is related to issues such as bad breath, in the minor instances, and loose teeth, in advanced situations. Somewhere in between the two is gum recession and the resulting intensity of sensitivity due to the exposure of vulnerable root surfaces.
How Sensitivity may be Managed
- Fillings are suitable for small cavities that are caught early. Larger cavities may require an inlay, onlay, or crown.
- Veneers are an excellent cosmetic treatment, and may also diminish or eliminate sensitivity by acting as a buffer between nerves and the outside world.
- Deep cleanings, including scaling and root planing, remove bacteria buildup and acidity from the space in between teeth and gums. Root planing is the smoothing of root surfaces that have been damaged by acidity, allowing soft tissue to re-attach.
We believe in supporting our patients to enjoy a life of smiles. Call our Grand Rapids office at 616-458-0631.