Some patients with sensitive teeth have no choice but to pay attention to their toothaches. The discomfort can be severe enough that it forces them to think only of finding relief. For many other patients, however, one or more teeth may be only slightly sensitive and easier to ignore (for the time being). Neglecting to treat a sensitive tooth, regardless of its severity, can lead to devastating results, depending on the cause of the tooth’s sensitivity. If a dental disease is present, such as tooth decay or gum disease, then it will only grow worse until actively treated. Park Ridge implant dentists, Drs. Maria and Thanasi Loukas, warn that sensitive teeth are more than just a nuisance—they’re a warning that should prompt you to seek treatment immediately.
The Construct of a Tooth
Cavities, or small holes formed by an internal infection, can eat through the layers of a tooth, designed to protect the vulnerable nerves and blood vessels at the tooth’s center (pulp). The outer layer, called tooth enamel, is highly-mineralized, and is the most resilient substance your body produces. Underneath enamel is the tooth’s main structure, called dentin, which covers and protects the pulp, and feeds sensory information to the tooth’s nerves. When structural damage, like a crack or fracture, or an existing cavity compromises enamel and dentin, then the tooth can become sensitive to food, bacteria, hot and cold temperatures, and other irritations.
Exposing the Roots
Aside from cavities, gum disease is also a common cause of tooth sensitivity, though for a different reason. Gums surround and protect the roots of your teeth as they extend into the jawbone. Unlike the crowns, or tops, of your teeth, the roots are not covered by enamel, but instead rely on gum tissue to seal and protect them from infectious oral bacteria. As gum disease develops, typically from poor oral hygiene, gum tissue can separate (recede) from teeth, exposing the roots that connect directly to a tooth’s pulp. Periodontal treatment may be required to repair the gums and allow them to heal before your teeth are comfortable again.
About Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas:
Whether you wish to protect your smile from dental disease and damage, or restore your smile after suffering tooth loss, we can help you regain your oral health and confidence through a new and improved smile. Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas are highly-skilled restorative and cosmetic dentists serving the Park Ridge and surrounding Chicago communities. To schedule an appointment, call Loukas General Dentistry today at (847) 696-1919.