Although it is not an emergency dental issue, tooth sensitivity or sensitive teeth is an uncomfortable and terrible nuisance. Tooth sensitivity will make it difficult to enjoy your favorite foods and drinks with your friend and family because of the tingling and shooting pain. However, you don't have to deal with this unpleasant condition, even for a minute.

Don't assume teeth sensitivity is a minor dental health issue that will disappear with time without treatment. You need to retain the services of an experienced dentist to examine your teeth and oral health condition to determine the root or cause of the problem. At La Puente Advanced Dentistry, we have modern technology to see what you can't see with your naked eyes.

Our skilled dentists can provide numerous painless and comfortable sensitive teeth services to alleviate and fix this uncomfortable dental problem for a healthy smile and good times with your friends.

Symptoms or Indicators of Teeth Sensitivity

Teeth enamel might be the strongest and most mineralized body organ, but it has its limits. A tooth enamel acts as a shield of the inner part of the tooth, which contains numerous nerves and blood capillaries. Therefore, when you experience sensitivity in your tooth or teeth, it means your enamel is weak and worn out.  Below are symptoms or indicators of teeth sensitivity:

  • Tingling pain when eating or drinking a hot or cold drink
  • Tingling pain when eating sugary foods or drinks
  • Tingling pain when doing your routine dental flossing and brushing
  • Tingling pain when you breathe in cold air
  • Redness or swelling of the gums

When you assume a teeth sensitivity issue and leave it untreated, you may come to a point where you have to do away with specific meals and drinks. The pain and sensitivity can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the cause of the problem. Don't let tooth sensitivity affect your ability to maintain top-notch teeth whiteness and oral health.

When you experience the above symptoms of teeth sensitivity, you should consult with a professional dentist as soon as possible to determine or diagnose the cause of this uncomfortable problem.

Although home-based oral care routines can prevent teeth sensitivity, you need to schedule frequent or regular appointments with your dentist for a check-up, even if your teeth are not sensitive. Frequent dental check-ups help prevent teeth sensitivity, which is not an uncommon dental issue among many people.

Common Causes of Teeth Sensitivity

To determine an appropriate treatment procedure to alleviate and fix sensitivity in your tooth or teeth, your dentist must first identify or determine the underlying cause of this nuisance. Although our teeth enamels become weak as we age, the following dental health issues can also cause weakening of your teeth enamel surface:

Tooth Decay

One of the most prevalent causes of enamel weakening among many people is tooth decay. Typically, tooth decay occurs when acidic excretes from bacteria that thrive in your mouth erode and destroy your tooth enamel surface, uncovering the sensitive part of the tooth. Tooth decay does not occur gradually, meaning you can be able to prevent it.

The main cause of tooth decay or caries is plaque build-up in your teeth' enamel surface over time due to poor oral hygiene habits and specific lifestyle habits like smoking. When you leave a dental plaque untreated, it will harden and form a dangerous brownish substance known as tartar.

The build-up of tartar in your teeth creates a conducive environment for dangerous bacteria to invade your teeth' enamel. Eventually, your tooth enamel will decay and form holes, also known as cavities. When that happens, your affected tooth will develop sensitivity issues due to the exposure of the nervous part of the tooth to various stimuli like cold drinks.

Luckily, this dental health issue is treatable, especially during its early stages, to prevent cavity and teeth sensitivity issues. Dental procedures like scaling and root planing could be helpful to prevent plaque build-up on your teeth' enamel surface. Apart from the nuisance sensitivity in your tooth, tooth decay can make you lose the affected tooth in the long run if it remains untreated.

Fractured or Cracked Tooth

Your teeth' enamel surface or filling can weaken due to trauma or significant injury on your mouth area during a sporting game or motorist accident. Biting hard objects or chewing specific hard food like nuts can also lead to a fracture or crack on your tooth. Depending on the extent of the crack or fracture, you might experience pain or not.

Even if a tooth crack is not painful at the moment, you should seek a dentist's services for a check-up because the crack can extend to the inner part of the tooth with time, leading to more severe problems. Tooth sensitivity might be a symptom of a severe and extreme crack on your tooth if the dentin or the nervous tooth's pulp chamber is affected by the crack.

As you might be aware, a permanent tooth cannot grow back once it breaks or falls out. Therefore, the best way to save a sensitive cracked or fractured tooth is by making an appointment with a reliable dentist to diagnose the extent of the crack and treat the issue.

Gum/Periodontal Diseases

Tooth sensitivity can also be an indicator or symptom of gum/periodontal disease. Like tooth decay, the cause of periodontal diseases is the build-up of dangerous plaque on the surface of your teeth enamel and deep below your gum line.

Apart from the sensitivity, if you have periodontal/gum disease, you will notice that some of your teeth appear longer than the others due to gum recession. Untreated gum recession will uncover nerve endings of the affected tooth root and expose them to sensitivity stimuli like sugary and cold foods.

When that happens, drinking and eating your favorite foods become a nightmare because of the uncomfortable sensitivity on the affected tooth or teeth. Untreated gum disease will expose you to the risk of losing the affected tooth or teeth because the underlying bacteria will continue to destroy supportive tissues of your tooth, including the jawbone.

Fortunately, periodontal disease is a treatable oral health issue, especially when your dentist detects it early. Hence, it is recommendable to schedule a regular appointment with a hygienist or dentist for thorough and deep teeth cleanings to keep plaque and bacteria at bay for a healthy mouth.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also medically known as bruxism, is a common issue that can weaken your teeth' enamel over time, especially if it occurs regularly. Often teeth grinding occurs when you are asleep due to crooked teeth or a disorder known as sleep apnea.

When the tooth grinding issue remains unfixed, soon you will experience teeth sensitivity and other symptoms like headache or jaw pain when you wake up in the morning.

Forceful Brushing

Many people might not beware that forceful or vigorous teeth brushing can cause erosion and weakening of your teeth’ enamel surface. If you have stains, discolorations, or plaque on your teeth, vigorous or forceful brushing is not the remedy to improve your teeth' aesthetic appearance.

Weakening and wearing out of your tooth enamel due to forceful and vigorous brushing exposes the tooth's dentin and the pulp chamber. When that happens, you'll begin to experience sensitivity when the exposed part of the tooth comes into contact with hot and sour drinks.

Treatment Services to Solve the Above Common Causes of Teeth Sensitivity

Depending on the cause of your tooth or teeth sensitivity, your dentist may recommend any of the following treatment services:

  1. Home-Based Treatment Services

If the erosion and damage on your tooth enamel are not severe, the dentist will give you some home-based treatment tips such as:

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride treatment is an effective remedy for teeth sensitivity and cavities because it re-hardens weakened and eroded enamel of your affected teeth. If the cause of your enamel erosion or damage is forceful or vigorous brushing, fluoride treatment can re-harden the weakened enamel to restore your tooth strength.

When it comes to fluoride treatment, your dentist may recommend fluoride toothpaste or fluoride mouthwash. Your dentist will give you guidelines of using the prescribed high-fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste to harden your teeth' enamel surfaces to avoid exposure of the inner part of the tooth to sensitivity stimuli like cold drinks.

Shifting to a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

If the cause of the sensitivity in your teeth is the continued use of a hard-bristled toothbrush and vigorous brushing as mentioned above, shifting to a soft-bristled toothbrush will help. Brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush will prevent further erosion and damages to your teeth enamel to alleviate and fix the bothersome sensitivity in your teeth.

Using a Desensitizing Toothpaste

Although it requires several applications, desensitizing toothpaste can fix the sensitivity in your teeth. Since there are several varieties of desensitizing toothpaste available over the counter (OTC), you can ask your dentist to recommend the best appropriate product to use for your specific dental issue treatment.

Desensitizing toothpaste can also help block the uncomfortable pain associated with tooth sensitivity if any.

Wearing Special Mouthguard at Night

Wearing a mouthguard at night can be helpful to prevent further damage on the enamel surface of your teeth if the cause of the uncanny sensitivity involves teeth grinding or bruxism. A mouthguard is typically a soft rubber that acts as a cushion between your teeth to prevent them from grinding or clenching while you are asleep.

Apart from eliminating the sensitivity in your teeth, wearing a mouthguard can also reduce strain and pressure on your jaw. You can purchase your mouth guard OTC unless you have other dental appliances in your mouth, like braces. In that case, your dentist will recommend a customized mouth guard, which he/she can prepare in the office within a few minutes.

  1. In-Office Treatment Services

In-office treatment services are recommendable if the cause of the sensitivity in your tooth is a severe oral health issue, like periodontal diseases or infected pulp. In-office treatment services will take place at your dentist's clinic. Common in-office services for treating a sensitive tooth or teeth include:

Scaling and Root Planing

Apart from the bothersome sensitivity, periodontal disease can make you lose your tooth if it remains untreated. Your dentist must remove the hardened plaque "tartar" on your teeth' enamel surface and beneath your gum line to treat periodontal or gum disease. Scaling and root planing is an effective treatment procedure for treating gum disease to fix teeth sensitivity issues.

To make this treatment procedure comfortable, you should expect an anesthesia injection on the targeted area of the mouth. But, first, your dentist will perform scaling, which involves scraping off the hardened tartar on your teeth and deep below your gum line using a special ultrasonic instrument.

Next, the dentist will perform root planing, which involves smoothing the rough surfaces on your affected tooth to wipe out any subgingival bacteria and encourage reattachment of the affected gums back to their ideal position.

After this treatment procedure, your gums should reattach themselves back in their ideal position approximately within six weeks. You might continue experiencing sensitivity during the healing process, but it is not an issue of concern. Once your gums are back in their ideal part of the mouth, you will not experience the uncomfortable teeth sensitivity anymore.

Surgical Tissue Grafting

If your affected tooth root has lost supportive gum tissues due to periodontal disease, surgical tissue grafting, also known as gingival grafting, might be necessary to restore your gum health. During gingival grafting, the dentist will take compatible tissue from somewhere else in your mouth to cover the exposed tooth root and improve your gum health.

Gingival grafting improves the aesthetic appearance of your gums and eliminates bothersome teeth sensitivity.

Dental Bonding and Crowning

Dental bonding and crowning are in-office treatment procedures for fixing cracks and fractures in your sensitive tooth. Dental bonding is a painless and quick procedure that will not take much of your time once you visit your dentist. Before a bonding procedure, your dentist will etch the affected tooth or teeth using a special liquid or gel to make its surface compatible with the bonding material.

Then, the dentist will use a bonding material, also known as a composite resin, to fix and repair open cracks and fractures in your sensitive tooth or teeth. To strengthen the already weakened tooth, your dentist may also recommend the placement of a dental crown after the bonding process.

A dental crown is typically a customized tooth-shaped restoration or "cap" that your dentist will place over the weakened and damaged tooth to restore its shape and strength to function like the surrounding adjacent healthy teeth. Apart from fixing the bothersome sensitivity in your tooth, a dental crown will also improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile.

Root Canal Treatment

If the crack in your sensitive tooth is extreme or the tooth's pulp chamber is infected, dental bonding and crowning will not be effective in treating this uncomfortable dental issue. In that case, your dentist will recommend a more extensive treatment procedure known as a root canal.

Although it is an extensive treatment procedure than other treatment services mentioned above, it is one of the most effective remedies for sensitive teeth. A root canal is a surgical treatment procedure that involves removing sensitive nerves and dead pulp in your tooth to fix the sensitivity issue permanently and prevent further infection of the tooth.

Local anesthesia might be necessary if the infection affects the nearby bone to make you relaxed and calm during the process. After administering the anesthesia, your dentist will drill into the affected tooth using precise and modern dentistry tools to remove and clean out the dead nerves and bacteria in the tooth's pulp chamber.

Depending on the cause of the bothersome sensitivity, the dentist may seal the canal immediately after the procedure or not. If the cause of your tooth or teeth sensitivity is an infection, your dentist will apply medication inside the canal "hollow chamber of the tooth" to clean it up.

In that case, you may have to wait for about a week before your next and final appointment to seal the canal and protect the inner part of the tooth from further infection and any sensitivity stimuli like sugary drinks. If needed, your dentist may recommend the placement of a crown to restore your affected tooth strength, shape, and size for an improved smile appearance.

The above procedure helps eliminate teeth sensitivity issues, but you have to observe proper oral health care practices at home to prevent the recurrence of this bothersome oral health issue. If your diet consists of sour and acidic foods like citrus fruits, you should consider changing this diet because these foods promote enamel erosion, which is one of the main causes of sensitive teeth.

Find a La Puente Dentist Near Me

As you can see, teeth sensitivity can be a sign of severe dental or gum health issues. Since the underlying infection can worsen with time, you should seek the services of a dentist as soon as possible. Experienced dentists at La Puente Advanced Dentistry would be happy to help you solve this bothersome teeth sensitivity issue for a healthy mouth.

There are several sensitive teeth services we can offer to fix your teeth sensitivity issue permanently. Call us at 626-626-7075 to schedule your initial consultation and discuss your dental health issue with our dentists.