Many of us have had a similar experience: we bite into something cold and get a sudden burst of pain that seems to come from our teeth, or perhaps we bite something hard or sticky and experience a sharp pain in one of our molars. While these experiences are common, they should not be normalized and, if it is a particularly painful sensation, you may be experiencing a dental emergency. In today’s blog, your Charles City, IA, dentist will explain some of the causes of tooth pain and sensitivity, as well as what to do if it is affecting you.
My Teeth Are Sensitive to Heat and Cold- Is That Normal?
Tooth sensitivity could affect a single tooth or several of your teeth. It commonly manifests as pain or discomfort when eating or drinking a hot, cold, or sticky food, and may dissipate quickly or linger for a while. Causes can include:
- Tooth decay/cavities
- The breakdown of enamel
- Fractured teeth
- Fillings that have worn down
- Gum disease
- Exposed tooth roots
Commonly, sensitivity occurs when the softer part of your tooth underneath your enamel (or cementum if it is the part of your tooth under your gums), dentin, is exposed due to decay, a fracture, wearing down over years of brushing and chewing, or old fillings wearing down. Dentin is more porous than your enamel and can allow hot, cold, and sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside your teeth, causing pain and discomfort. While you may find some relief with ice packs or over-the-counter pain medications, it is always best to schedule a visit with your dentist if you are experiencing tooth pain so that they can diagnose the problem and treat it before it gets worse. A simple toothache when drinking a cold beverage could be a sign of some serious tooth decay or gum disease, both of which are much more easily and inexpensively dealt with the earlier they’re caught.
What Can I Do?
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain, it is always best to schedule an appointment with your dentist. If the underlying issues causing the discomfort are not addressed, the problems could become much worse. If you are experiencing unprecedented sharp pain or have damaged a tooth or filling, you may be experiencing a dental emergency. In these cases, you would be able to schedule a same-day appointment with us at Central Park Dentistry to get your smile taken care of right away. However, if your issue is slightly less urgent and you need to wait a day or two for your appointment, an ice pack applied to the outside of your mouth near the pain (if experiencing an ongoing toothache) as well as your favorite over-the-counter pain medication can help to alleviate some of your discomfort while you wait.
Time For a Tooth Tune-Up?
Tooth sensitivity isn’t something you have to live with, and it isn’t something to take lightly. If you are experiencing any discomfort, schedule a visit to find the cause by calling Central Park Dentistry in Charles City, IA, today at (641) 228-1115. We also proudly welcome patients from Greene, Nashua, and all surrounding communities.