May 18, 2020
Tooth sensitivity is an inconvenient and uncomfortable sensation many of us have experienced at one point or another. However, sensitive teeth can sometimes be a warning sign of an underlying oral health issue. Since most dental practices are only treating emergencies during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to know what situations require urgent care. Read on to find out if your tooth sensitivity can be treated at home until quarantine orders are lifted or if you should call your Reading emergency dentist right away.
Factors That Cause Tooth Sensitivity
Your enamel is the hardest substance in your body. However, it’s not indestructible. If it becomes weakened or damaged, the sensitive layers underneath could become aggravated. This could be the result of:
- Cavities or softened enamel
- A highly acidic diet
- Broken dental crowns or fillings
- Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
- Disease or infection
Tips for Treating Sensitivity at Home
The most effective way to treat tooth sensitivity is to know what’s causing it. If your dentist is closed and you’re unsure what the underlying issue is, there are several ways to mitigate the discomfort at home. First, make sure you’re cleaning your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Dental products like desensitizing toothpastes and fluoridated mouthwashes are also designed to strengthen your teeth and help combat sensitivity. Additionally, take some time to kick any bad habits that may be causing your discomfort. This could include eating an overly acidic diet, brushing aggressively, or chewing on hard objects like pen caps, ice, or fingernails.
When to Call Your Emergency Dentist
However, tooth sensitivity can sometimes be a warning sign of a dental issue that needs to be treated right away to prevent further damage or infection. Call your dentist if:
- You’re experiencing sensitive teeth after dental trauma or a blow to the face. Your teeth may be damaged, even if you can’t see it.
- Your gums have receded, which may cause your teeth to look longer. This alongside inflamed, easily bleeding gums and tooth sensitivity are symptoms of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and systemic health conditions if left untreated.
- Your sensitive teeth are also loose or painful to chew with. These are signs of a dental abscess or tooth infection, which can spread throughout the mouth and body if not treated by your dentist right away.
While sensitive teeth are unpleasant, they are thankfully not usually a dental emergency. However, even if you can manage the discomfort at home, you should see your Reading dentist once stay-at-home orders have been lifted. They can help you discover the most effective way to get back to enjoying your happy, healthy, and strong smile.
About the Author
For over 30 years, Dr. Gail Iebba of Associates in Family Dentistry in Reading, MA has been providing smiles of all ages excellent, comfortable, and long-lasting dental care. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she has made the difficult decision to temporarily close her practice until further notice. However, she and her talented staff are working tirelessly to keep their practice clean in order to safely treat any dental emergencies. If you are unsure if your sensitive teeth require urgent care, feel free to contact her via her website or at (781) 944-6761.
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