Is Tooth Sensitivity Ever Considered a Dental Emergency?

Woman suffering from a tooth sensitivity cause by ice cream

Have you ever bitten into an ice cream cone and experienced tooth sensitivity? There are many reasons for our teeth feeling sensitive, some mild and some serious; that said, how do you know if this sensitivity is an emergency that needs to be addressed swiftly? Keep reading to learn more from your emergency dentist in Bonita Springs about dental sensitivity and how it needs to be addressed.

What Causes Dental Sensitivity?

Dental sensitivity can stem from a variety of reasons. Healthy teeth have a thick, outer layer of enamel that protects the crown portion, but underneath this enamel is a layer made of dentin. Dentin helps to preserve and regulate the nerves and cells inside of your teeth—and when this layer of dentin becomes exposed, it often results in varying degrees of hypersensitivity! If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, you might be affected by one of the following:

  • A chipped or cracked tooth.
  • Tooth decay that has led to cavities.
  • An eroded dental filling.
  • Gum disease.
  • Worn tooth enamel.
  • Exposed tooth root.

Is Tooth Sensitivity Considered an Emergency?

Technically, dental sensitivity can be considered an emergency, but it depends on the circumstances. If you’re suffering from chronic and persistent pain, sensitivity that lasts for more than 20 seconds, or the sensation is affecting multiple teeth, you should contact your dentist without delay. One of the most common causes of hypersensitivity is tooth decay—which absolutely needs to be addressed by your dentist in order to prevent the issue from escalating. However, if the sensitivity is short-lived and usually only occurs when your mouth comes into contact with hot or cold consumables, it usually isn’t a serious emergency and can be monitored to ensure it doesn’t worsen.

How Are Sensitive Teeth Treated?

Dental sensitivity is a relatively common issue, but treating it depends on what the cause is. That said, some common treatment options include:

  • Desensitizing toothpastes – These contain compounds that can help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. It usually requires a few applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
  • Fluoride gel – This is an in-office technique that can strengthen tooth enamel and also reduce the transmission of sensations.
  • Dental crowns – Crowns, inlays, or even direct bonding can be used to correct flaws in teeth or cavities that result in hypersensitivity.
  • Gum graft – If gum tissue has been lost from the root, a gum graft can be performed to replace it, covering the root once more and reducing sensitivity.
  • Root canal therapy – This is arguably one of the best ways to salvage a compromised tooth; if the inner part of the tooth (the pulp) has become infected, your dentist will need to remove the infected part of the tooth before sealing it back up.

Dental sensitivity is an issue that can greatly disrupt your day-to-day; but it’s also an issue that can easily be remedied by your dentist! That said, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity that isn’t letting up.

About the Author

Dr. Rich Gilbert received his DMD from the University of Florida College of Dentistry and is a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry. His practice in Bonita Springs is proud to offer a wide range of available services including emergency dentistry. If you or a loved one is suffering from persistent tooth sensitivity, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for assistance: (239) 948-2111.