An estimated 40 million adults suffer from tooth sensitivity . However, not everyone talks to their dentist about their sensitive teeth. For some people, feeling pain or discomfort when eating very hot, cold, or even sweet or spicy foods seems normal, so they don’t think to talk to their dentist about it.
However, teeth aren’t meant to cause discomfort. Teeth are protected by their outermost layer, enamel, which prevents the temperatures from what you eat from reaching the sensitive nerve tissue inside your tooth.
When tooth enamel is jeopardized, it can lead to oral health problems, which is why talking to your dentist about sensitive teeth is important. Here’s when to bring up your sensitive teeth to your dentist!
When Teeth Sensitivity Is New
If your tooth enamel has been worn away from poor oral hygiene, teeth grinding (bruxism), or injuries such as chips and cracks, sensitive teeth are often the result. Sensitive teeth can also result from receding gum tissue, which is a symptom of gum disease .
Sensitive teeth are always a sign that you should see your dentist because there could be an underlying problem, such as gum disease, tooth decay, or bruxism. When your tooth sensitivity is new, even if it seems minor, this is a good opportunity to discuss the issue with your dentist to see if there have been any changes to your oral health.
If Teeth Sensitivity Has Changed
Perhaps you’ve had teeth sensitivity for a while and it’s stayed relatively the same. Then suddenly, your teeth feel more sensitive, or one tooth feels more sensitive than the others. Or perhaps you’ve started reacting to sweet, spicy, or sour foods instead of just hot and cold foods and drinks.
If your teeth sensitivity has changed, especially suddenly, following up with your dentist is a good idea. Sudden changes in tooth sensitivity could indicate that you have a tooth injury, decay, a tooth infection, or even periodontal issues that could be causing the discomfort.
If How You Manage Your Tooth Sensitivity Is No Longer Working
Many people with sensitive teeth find managing their sensitivity with desensitizing toothpaste and avoiding certain triggers to be helpful. However, if you’ve been successfully managing your tooth sensitivity and suddenly the techniques you’re using aren’t working anymore, it’s time to follow up with your dentist.
Your oral health may have changed, which has caused your usual way of managing the sensitivity to not work anymore, or you may need to try a new toothpaste. Your dentist can help you find out what could have changed and what might work in the future for you. It’s also important to remember not to attempt to manage sensitive teeth without first attempting to identify the underlying cause .
Do You Have Sensitive Teeth?
If you have sensitive teeth, let your dentist know during your next checkup. Sensitive teeth could be an indication that something is amiss with your oral health. Your dentist may be able to alleviate your discomfort with fluoride treatments or recommended toothpastes or home care practices that can help!