According to Dear Doctor, up to 35 percent of adults in the United States have some kind of dental sensitivity--that is, their teeth hurt when exposed to hot, cold or sugary foods and drinks. Are you one of these sufferers? Endodontist, Dr. Philip Bauer, sees a lot of patients with tooth sensitivity in his Greenwich and Stamford, CT, office. As an expert in root canal therapy and the interior anatomy of the tooth, he educates individuals on the causes and solutions of this common problem and also treats it with kindness and skill.
What happens inside a tooth
Your teeth are not just solid blocks of rock-hard enamel. Enamel just represents the outer protective layer that everyone sees when you smile. No, each and every tooth in your mouth is a complex structure. For instance, directly under the enamel is a yellow layer called dentin. It has little tubules which transmit sensations to the tooth's interior pulp. In addition, you have a calcified layer called cementum which coats the surface of the tooth roots.
At the very interior of the tooth, and down each of its roots, is a chamber filled with nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. This soft pulp is the living portion of your tooth, and it can experience pain when injured, uncovered or exposed to pressure or temperature extremes.
Why teeth hurt
So why do our complex teeth become sensitive? The causes, says Dr. Bauer, are many, and include:
- Dental decay
- Deteriorating fillings and crowns
- Chips, cracks and other surface defects due to wear and tear or oral injury
- Acid erosion from too much coffee, soft drinks or acidic foods such as tomato sauce and citrus fruits
- Exposed roots due to heredity, gum disease or vigorous tooth brushing
- Dental abscess, or infection
- Simple wear and tear
- Thin enamel due to the aging process
- Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism)
What can be done in Greenwich and Stamford
Only your dentist can diagnose tooth sensitivity correctly. He will perform a complete oral examination, including dental X-rays, to pinpoint the source of your pain. Also, he will formulate an individualized care plan to address the issue so your smile is as comfortable as possible.
Depending on his findings, Dr. Bauer may recommend:
- Sensitivity toothpaste
- Prescription mouth rinses
- Fluoride varnishes and plastic sealants
- Replacement of old fillings or crowns
- Using composite resin bonding, porcelain veneers or crowns to cover and protect cracked enamel
- Tooth-colored fillings to treat decay
- Root canal therapy to heal dental abscesses
Fortunately, you and your smile are in good hands. Dr. Bauer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics. That means he is highly trained in the interior workings of your teeth and knows all about treating dental sensitivity.
So if you have a tooth that is sensitive or painful, please don't hesitate to contact Philip J. Bauer DMD & Associates in Greenwich and Stamford, CT, for an answer to your problem. Call (203) 327-1613 for an appointment.