Tooth Sensitivity 


by Lawrence M. Spindel D.D.S     Friday, February 23,2007


Many New Yorkers suffer from sensitive teeth.  In fact it is probably the number one problem expressed by patients especially prevalent as they age.  Teeth can be sensitve for many reasons and there different types of sensitivity.  Obviously if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity it is best if you arrange a visit to the dentist, but here are some possible causes of tooth sensitivity.

 Sensitivity associated with sweets:  Often this is experienced by patients with large cavities but can also be associated with extensively worn and abraded teeth or teeth with leaky fillings which may need replacing

 Sensitivity associated with intermitant pain on chewing: Often this is related to cracked tooth syndrome which can involve these symptions: Intermitant  sharp pain on chewing and /or sensitivity to hot or cold.

 Sensitivity associated to drinking cold liquids:  If the tooth was recently  filled this can be caused by the filling technique.  In this case, if the symptom doesn’t eventually subside then the filling should be removed and the tooth inspected with magnification for cracks.  This symptom can be part of the cracked tooth syndrome , but also can be experienced by patients with sinus problems.  If the maxillary sinuses are inflammed then it can cause pain in the upper teeth. Patient often come in thinking they need rootcanal or fillings when actually they need pseudophed or a visit to an allergist or  an ENT specialist!

 Sensitivity to drinking hot liquids or eating hot foods:  This is potentially more serious and can mean that a nerve in one of your teeth is either dead or dieing.  Certainly it is a more significant symptom then sensitivity to cold alone.  If you are experiencing both hot and cold sensitivity in the same tooth then at least you can be sure that the nerve is at least partially alive, but you definitely should seek out the services of a dentist!  Dull ache when chewing often can be associated with gingival inflammation or periodontal problems.  You need a cleaning or more profound periodontal treatments. 

If A tooth is loose: It hurts when you press on it you may have some sort of dental abcess  and definitely should go to the dentist right away.  Sometimes if this is addressed right away by the dentist you’re tooth can be saved.  When you wait on this symptom , sometimes it leads to a tooth loss and this might have been prevented if there had been timely treatment. 

Sensitivity associated with tooth grinding or bruxing: Especially at night this can be a frequent problem.  If you wake up in the morning with sore back teeth this is a likely cause. (start wearing a niteguard!) 

Pain in your cheeks on opening or closing: This is not really tooth pain but may have to do with TMJ joint inflammation or inflammation of the masseter muscle.  Dentists often can offer good advice about dealing with this problem.