Tooth sensitivity is often one of the first warning signs that something's gone wrong in your mouth, but many people ignore it. Whether out of fear or misunderstanding, neglecting this symptom can potentially allow your situation to get even worse. Here are three potential causes for your tooth sensitivity that deserve treatment from a dentist.
One of the main reasons for tooth sensitivity is that your dental enamel is no longer as thick as it once was. Enamel is the hard exterior layer on the tooth that protects it from acid, decay, and yes, sensitivity. While enamel is designed to withstand years of eating, chewing, and biting, it can break down if it's exposed to too much acid or sugar. As a result, the thinner layer doesn't provide as much protection for the tooth. Without this protection, nerves inside the tooth may be exposed to sudden temperature shifts or abrasive foods that you're eating, which causes your pain.
Cavities can obviously cause tooth pain, but this pain often starts as sensitivity. While cavities are typically easy to notice in your mouth, that isn't always the case. Cavities can start on the inside of the tooth and work their way outward, too. Unfortunately, this keeps it hidden from view from the human eye while still causing pain. If it gets too far along, the pulp, root, and the entire tooth could potentially be destroyed past the point of repair once you seek help. Thankfully, dentists can determine if you have an internal cavity with x-rays, so don't put off your regular visits.
Gum disease tends to be more painful for the gums or the teeth, but if it's advanced enough, it can leave your teeth hurting too.
Uncontrolled gum disease will eventually cause gums to recede. As the gums recede, the parts of the teeth that were once covered by gum tissue will become exposed. These parts of the teeth typically have little to no enamel, since the gums do the job of protecting them. Like thinning enamel, this will increase the risk of having your nerves become sensitive once this part of the tooth is exposed.
If your teeth are feeling sensitive, you should never ignore the symptom. Seeking treatment immediately can help to protect your oral health and prevent a minor problem from becoming severe. Contact a dentist and get medical attention if you're having this problem. Visit a site like http://www.charlottesvilledentistry.com/ for more help.