Does Dental Sensitivity Require Emergency Care?

woman in Sebastian holding cheek in pain

While drinking your morning coffee, you felt a jolt of pain in your mouth. Upon further inspection, one of your teeth appears to be more sensitive than usual. Though sensitive teeth can be caused by a variety of different factors, it can be difficult to know how serious the issue is. Here’s how you can tell whether or not your tooth sensitivity requires an emergency visit to the dentist’s office.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

People with sensitive teeth may experience discomfort or pain as a response to certain triggers like hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages, cold air, alcohol-based mouth rinses, and brushing or flossing one’s teeth. There are many reasons for tooth sensitivity, but some common causes include fractured, chipped, or broken teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, grinding or clenching teeth, an exposed root, decay, or worn enamel.

Is Tooth Sensitivity a Dental Emergency?

Short term, sensitive teeth don’t necessarily constitute a dental emergency. However, if the sensitivity continues for longer than a few days, it could be a sign of tooth decay or infected tooth pulp which may require restorative care, like root canal therapy. Untreated tooth decay may also lead to gum disease which can damage the soft tissue in your mouth and destroy the bone that supports your teeth. When in doubt, contact your dentist so they can clean your teeth and perform an exam to find the source of the sensitivity. From there, they can discuss the next best steps, like switching to a specialty toothpaste.

How to Prevent Tooth Sensitivity

To prevent future sensitivity, make sure to gently brush your teeth twice per day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Daily flossing can also help by dislodging any food stuck between your teeth to lessen your chances of developing cavities. If you grind or clench your teeth, ask your dentist about getting a mouth guard to prevent fracturing, which can lead to sensitivity. Avoid acidic foods and drinks, soda, sticky candy, and high-sugar products. Instead, eat and drink fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese, and plain yogurt, which will help fight acid that can eat away at tooth enamel.

Though tooth sensitivity may not be a cause for concern, consider making an appointment with your dentist to ensure that there’s nothing to worry about or to get the necessary treatment. This will help you avoid further complications and allow you to keep your smile looking its best.

About the Practice

Going to the dentist shouldn’t feel like a chore. At Sebastian Dental, Dr. Pirkle, Dr. Webb, Dr. Thillet, and the rest of their team have transformed the dental experience by making patients feel comfortable and at ease with the care they receive. They take the time to talk with you about your life, your family, and your dental health goals in order to provide you with the personalized treatment you need. Call Sebastian Dental’s office at (772) 388-0088 or visit their website to learn more about tooth sensitivity and how they can help you fix it.

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