Q: I recently had some dental work done, and now my teeth are sensitive. Why is that, and how long will it last?
There are several reasons why a tooth can be sensitive after dental care, but they all trace back to the dental pulp. The dental pulp is a chamber in the center of your tooth. It contains your tooth’s nerves and blood vessels.
Though we use often local anesthetic (what most of us refer to as “Novocaine”) to numb the area for dental treatment so you don’t feel it, your tooth still experiences it like an injury. And, like an injury in any other part of your body, inflammation occurs. This inflammation, called pulpitis, is the reason that the tooth is sensitive.
The depth of decay in your tooth can play a part too. The larger or deeper your decay or cavity is, the closer it is to your dental pulp and the more likely it is for your tooth to become sensitive.
Pulpitis can be temporary (reversible) or irreversible. Sometimes the pulpitis is short-lived and goes away on its own after a few days or weeks as the tooth heals itself.
Sometimes your numbness works against us. For example, you may not realize that you’re not closing your teeth in your usual position. This may cause your bite to be off. The constant banging of this tooth against another tooth causes pulpitis. The sensitivity will persist until your dentist corrects your bite. Usually once this is corrected, the sensitivity goes away quickly.
Sometimes though, your dental pulp is not able to heal itself. This is what is called irreversible pulpitis. Many times, it occurs because a cavity is very deep and gets too close to your dental pulp or as a result of trauma such as a blow to the face. Irreversible pulpitis requires either a root canal or removal of the tooth to end the sensitivity.
If you are having tooth sensitivity, Dr. Jennifer Robb, a general dentist, may be able to help. She is taking new patients at her Lorain, OH office located at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd. Call 440-960-1940 for an appointment or use the contact form at www.drjrobb.com