dental care


Tooth sensitivity treatment

by Pete Amorosi, answer by the Dentist
(Maple Shade, NJ)

Tooth sensitivity treatment is a common treatment among dentists, but it is also a tricky treatment, since the symptoms varies a lot among the patients. Pete worries about sensitivity from one of his teeth with a crown on it:


I recently had a 5 year old crown replaced on 14. The first replacement was a bad fit and a 2nd replacement crown was made. The dentist placed the the crown and the following day I had some sensitivity to heat and cold, but extreme sensitivity to sweet things, such as cake icing and honey. There is no pain when chewing. The sensitivity to sweets bothers me more than hot and cold and I suspect there is an open margin. This has been going on for 3 weeks and I have a dental appointment next week and I will try to resolve this problem. I'm hoping I don't need a root canal. Would extreme sensitivity to sweets be more indicative of an open margin? Thanks in advance!

Dear Pete,
Thank you for submitting your question. After placing crowns on vital teeth (that is, teeth that haven't got a root canal and therefor is still alive) one expects pain (sensitivity) for about 1 or 2 out of 10 teeth. So the sensation is not very uncommon. When it comes to teeth sensitivity, it could be a sign that there is a slight inflammation in the given tooth. If there is a marked sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks, also cold air, this is an early sign of inflammation is the tooth pulp. These sensations is usually not common with serious inflammations. Short, intermittent periods of marked pain (seconds to minutes) suggests that the inflammation in the pulp is progressing. This sensation can last for months or even year without causing necrosis (death) of the tooth pulp. Lasting pain (hours) indicates inflammations that is serioius and cannot be reversed. At this point the tooth needs root canal treatment. At the end, before the pulp gets into necrosis and 'dies', warm food can feel comforting. Sensitivity to sweet things usually indicates a cavity, a carious lesion. It does not mean that there is an open margin, but it's not possible to exclude that possibility. You might need a root canal is the symptoms do not disappear. Anyhow, I advice you to talk to your dentist about this!

Good luck with your tooth sensitivity treatment!

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