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Dealing with Sensitivity: How to Know When It’s Time to Book an Emergency Dental Appointment

April 20, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — yournorthshoredentist @ 12:30 pm
Person with toothache in need of help from emergency dentist

You’re sipping a cold glass of your favorite beverage and suddenly experience a sharp pain in your mouth. Tooth sensitivity happens for a number of reasons. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, it may be a stressful thing to have to schedule an emergency dental appointment. By understanding the most common causes of tooth sensitivity, you’ll be better able to know what you can manage by yourself and what will require a visit to your emergency dentist.

Why Teeth Become Sensitive

Some causes of tooth sensitivity are more common than others. If you experience prolonged or extreme sensitivity, you’ll want to make sure that you’re seen by a dentist. However, many types of tooth sensitivity are intermittent and mild.  

Exposed Roots

Much tooth sensitivity happens because the roots of your teeth have become exposed. This happens for many reasons, especially gum recession or using a hard-bristled brush. Your roots are porous and not as strong as the crowns of your teeth.

Tooth Decay

As your teeth wear down due to cavities or decay, your teeth are more likely to become sensitive. This is particularly the case if bacteria and infection are able to reach the nerves in your teeth.


Infections can cause extreme dental pain, often requiring a root canal to be performed. If you have swelling in your face accompanied by strong, lingering pain, it’s important to see a dental professional right away.  

Managing Sensitivity at Home

It’s important to get yourself looked at if you’re experiencing any time of dental pain, as it can indicate larger problems. If you have sensitivity that isn’t quite as severe as something that indicates making an emergency appointment, there are things that you can do at home to provide relief in the short-term.

Limit Acidic Foods and Drinks

Acidic liquids and foods can cause tooth sensitivity to become worse. As your enamel is worn away, you’re more likely to develop cavities and experience pain.

Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

Hard-bristled brushes take a toll on your teeth and cause your gums to recede. Choosing a soft-bristled toothbrush instead will give you the same clean mouth without causing any unnecessary harm.

Choose Desenitizing Toothpaste

Desensitizing toothpaste can limit the amount of sensitivity and pain that you feel. Many are available at your local supermarket and are helpful in the short-term.

The cause of your tooth sensitivity should always be diagnosed by your dentist. Having an understanding of the most common causes of sensitivity will help you to know if you should book an emergency dental appointment or wait until your next scheduled visit.  

About the Author

Dr. David Schwartz understands just how frustrating dental pain can be. He has spent decades in the dental field, continuously updating his education to be able to get his patients out of pain quickly and comfortably. He is one of just 250 dentists in the nation to have been named a Diplomate of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, he and his team at North Shore Family Dentistry are here to help over email or by phone at (847) 865-9859.

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