Are Toothaches and Sensitive Teeth the Same Problem?

Hello, winter storm Astro! At the office of Knoxville, TN general dentistDr. Jim Erpenbach, we’re doing our best to stay warm this week. And what better time than now to discuss sensitivity to heat and cold and how it affects your teeth?

Sensitivity or Toothache?

First, let’s make a distinction between sensitive teeth and a toothache. In…

Hello, winter storm Astro! At the office of Knoxville, TN general dentistDr. Jim Erpenbach, we’re doing our best to stay warm this week. And what better time than now to discuss sensitivity to heat and cold and how it affects your teeth?

Sensitivity or Toothache?

First, let’s make a distinction between sensitive teeth and a toothache. In most cases, sensitivity affects several teeth at once, whereas a toothache is most commonly confined to a single tooth. Compared to sensitivity, a toothache generally results in consistent discomfort regardless of whether you are eating, brushing, or applying pressure to the tooth. Sensitivity, on the other hand, occurs in response to a stimulus, such as brushing your teeth or exposing them to hot or cold foods and beverages.

Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Now that you have determined whether you are dealing with sensitive teeth and not a toothache, we can examine the possible culprits:

Aggressive brushing: Yes, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, even when we’re talking about oral hygiene. Aggressive brushers tend to concentrate their vigorous brushing efforts on just one or two areas in the mouth, where the ADA and your dentist advise that you should spend time brushing all of your teeth.

Using the wrong toothbrush: Always choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Medium or hard bristles can be just as destructive as overly aggressive brushing, and if you combined the two? Disastrous.

Damaged tooth enamel: The purpose of tooth enamel is to serve as a protective barrier against bacteria, acids, and infections. If the enamel is somehow eroded or has worn thin in places, the dentin beneath the surface is exposed. This leaves nerves within the tooth exposed and more easily stimulated, with painful results. This is especially problematic because the discomfort may deter you from brushing, which only exacerbates the problem.

If your teeth are overly sensitive or become more sensitive than usual, call your dentist to arrange a dental checkup. Although sensitivity rarely indicates a serious oral health concern, it can interfere with your oral hygiene regimen.

About Your Knoxville Dentist

For more information about our office and its services, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jim Erpenbach, contact us at (865) 240-2035. Our Knoxville, TN dentist office serves patients living in and around the greater metropolitan area.

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