This section is designed to be a general guide to explore the numerous reasons why teeth can be sensitive and/or painful. As well as provide information to help you through any dental emergencies that may arise.
It is advised that you contact us or the emergency department of a dental hospital for treatment in these situations.
With the hectic lifestyles that we lead and all our sporting activities, tooth avulsion is a problem. More and more sports are making mouthguards a priority which is decreasing the incidence of accidents. Although leisure activities such as skateboarding, roller blading, etc., are adding to the problem. Also people with prominent teeth (see orthodontic section) have a higher incidence of tooth damage occurring. Acting quickly when a tooth is lost can save the tooth.
What to do
The most important thing to do is to get the tooth back into its socket as quickly as possible. The longer the tooth is out of its socket decreases the chances of success.
1. Always remain calm. Once the tooth has been found then see how dirty it is. The best solution to clean a tooth is in milk or saline solution. Gently rinse the tooth. DO NOT SCRUB IT CLEAN, as you will remove the bony attachment from the tooth and do not touch the root surface.
2. Putting it back in place you will need to use the other teeth as a guide and make sure the tooth is facing the right way. Push the tooth back into its socket using a quick, forceful motion until the tooth is in the right place.
3. If you cannot put the tooth back into place then you need to see a dentist immediately. The best solutions to store the tooth is in milk or saline solution. Otherwise wrap it in glad wrap or place the tooth in the patients mouth next to the cheeks. This will keep the bony attachment cells on the tooth alive and increase the chances of success.
4. A dentist will need to be seen immediately. They will either place the tooth into position for you or see whether you have done a good job. The tooth will then be splinted to the other teeth to hold it in place.
Follow up visits will be made to determine the treatment plan for the tooth. In many cases root canal therapy (see ‘Tell me about dentistry”) will have to be performed. Just remember that the chances of success are higher the quicker the tooth is placed back into its socket.
Toothaches are normally worse at night as everything becomes quiet and all you have to concentrate on is that pain. As you lie down and try to go to sleep the blood rushes to your head and stimulates the pain receptors in the area causing more pain.
There are many types of remedies that people try to use to relieve the pain such as hot packs, cold packs, tooth drops, salt water, mouth washes etc. Unfortunately, you will have to try these and see which one works best for you.
Painkillers can also be useful. You will have to read the directions and warnings on the packets to see which painkiller is suitable for you, or speak to a pharmacist. Most importantly, make an appointment to see your Star Smiles dentist immediately to deal with the problem.
One in three adults suffers from sensitive teeth.
When sensitivity affects your teeth, eating experiences that are normally pleasurable can be very painful. Food and drinks that are usually enjoyable – such as hot coffee, steaming home made soup, ice-cold lemonade, or fresh strawberry ice-cream can stimulate a sharp, sudden pain that shoots deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.
If you’ve experienced sensitivity, you know its sensation all too well. What you may not know is that this condition can be prevented or eliminated.
By learning about sensitivity, you can make an informed decision about preventive hygiene and appropriate treatments, as well as, bring yourself one step closer to enjoying hot or cold foods and drinks – free of worry.
Bacteria begins to destroy the enamel of the tooth making its way to the next layer in, which is dentine. The dentine is directly connected to the pulp of the tooth via little tubules. These fluid filled tubules once exposed, conduct hot/cold/sweet sensations to the nerve of the tooth, consequently making the tooth sensitive.
As the bacteria penetrates further into the tooth it starts to infect and destroy the pulp (nerve) of the tooth. The dying nerve may start becoming very sensitive as the nerves are now completely exposed.
This infection will then continue if not treated, through the tip of the root into the bone causing an abscess. The tooth has now probably progressed from being sensitive to a constant ache.
Tartar is a hardened substance that adheres to the surface of the tooth. It is made up of several components being bacteria (plaque), saliva and food. The bacterial component destroys the gingiva (gum) causing gingivitis and progresses to destroying the bone holding the tooth causing Periodontitis. This exposes the root of the tooth (recession), which is very close to the nerve causing sensitivity.
People who use a very hard toothbrush or not the correct brushing technique can destroy the gingiva around the tooth causing it to recede, exposing the root of the tooth. Continuing with your brushing habit can wear away the root surface making the tooth very sensitive.
People who grind or clench their teeth cause the tooth to flex along the gum line. This can cause the gum to recede and start to destroy tooth structure at this point. Combine this with a poor brushing habit, the surface of the root is worn away making the tooth very sensitive.
This habit wears away tooth structure. Also the constant severe forces placed on the teeth causes the nerve to be over stimulated and consequently very sensitive.
Due to the many causes of sensitivity, we suggest you visit your First Bite dentist to determine the exact nature of sensitivity and the best treatment.