Don’t Keep Calm and Carry On, Call your Dentist about Sensitivity!
There are some dental concerns that people may bring up to their dentist. Tooth pain, chips, discoloration, and bad breath are just a few. There is another problem that is very common, but this one tends to get far less air-time. We’re talking about sensitivity, and we want to explore why we think this may not be a topic of discussion during many dental visits, and why it should be.
Teeth are not supposed to feel uncomfortable when we consume foods of various temperatures. This is because the hard shell of enamel that covers the entire surface of each tooth is very durable. Its thickness buffers the effects of stimuli such as a warm cup of coffee or popsicle. However, the marketing that is commonly seen in magazines and on television gives us the illusion that sensitive teeth are the norm, and they also tell us that if we just “brush with this,” our meals can be much more pleasant and enjoyable. The issue with this is, teeth are like little beacons that warn us when danger is near, and sensitivity is the ringing alarm.
Sensitivity may not be an urgent dental concern, but there is a reason to schedule a dental checkup should ache, and pains occur when the temperature of the mouth changes (or for any other reason – or no reason at all). The ringing alarm may indicate:
- Tooth decay. That hard enamel that covers teeth may develop a cavity, or area of extreme demineralization if bacteria sit in one place for any length of time. Because bacteria accumulate in the invisible film of plaque, it is quite easy for them to stay in place longer than we’d like, paving the way for a cavity and the sensitivity that goes with it.
- Erosion. Like cavities, erosion is a problem that occurs when too few minerals are in enamel. Erosion is also an acidity problem, but in a more widespread manner than the average cavity. The entire surface of enamel can wear down due to acidic ingredients in food products, decreasing the buffer between nerves and what is outside of the tooth.
- Gum recession. Gum tissue is supposed to adhere to tooth structure. This tissue deteriorates when acidity causes inflammation. Inflammation makes the gums pull away from the tooth, creating an opening for stimuli to affect the nerves through the root of that tooth.
While there is no need to panic about tooth sensitivity, there is a good reason to call your dentist at Montefiore Medical Center. Contact us at (888) 700-6623 for an appointment at one of our locations in the Bronx.