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Is there something weird going on with one of your teeth? Strange sensation? Is your tooth sensitive to air, sensitive to cold, or sensitive to biting? Do you have bleeding gums? Do you have mysterious tooth pain? Pain in your jaw? Let’s examine some of the possible problems that could be happening …

Tooth sensitive to air? Could be a sensitive root that has become exposed over time, susceptible to dehydration or touch. That’s the most common problem. There could also be decay, or sometimes acid reflux can have an affect. Sometimes, a part of the tooth (or a filling) has broken off. In any of these cases, the tooth needs attention in the form of either a filling or protective coating.

Tooth sensitive to cold? That’s usually a symptom of the pulp being inflamed, which is often the result of deep decay, (See us right away!) or the aftermath of recent dental treatment (in which case, symptoms should not last), or exposed roots, due to gums receding, exposing sensitive parts of the tooth. In any case, the tooth needs professional attention.

Tooth sensitive to sweets? You probably have a leaky filling. Over time, fillings wear and corrode, and can allow all manner of substances (and bacteria) to invade. If you’re experiencing this sensation, it’s definitely time to replace the filling.

Tooth sensitive to biting? This is mostly due to sensitivity to pressure. Why? The tooth could have an infection that’s spread to the bone (requiring endodontic treatment), or be suffering from a temporary injury (blow to the jaw?) that requires some time to heal, or if you’ve had a new restoration to the tooth, a further adjustment to your bite could be necessary. And sometimes, this type of sensitivity is due to a cracked tooth (best caught early!).

Bleeding gums? This is a sign of gum disease, and it’s not normal. Plaque run amok is where the problem usually starts. Dental hygiene (regular brushing/flossing) is how to prevent – and remedy – this. Don’t ignore this problem.

Loose tooth? This is normally a sign of advanced gum disease, but could be due to a cracked root, or an impact injury. Don’t ignore the problem. Get treatment ASAP. That being said … sometimes you can think it’s loose when it’s not (teeth all have a degree of natural mobility, and move slightly).

Tooth pain after filling? With amalgam fillings, some post-operative pain is common, as the metal conducts extreme temperatures to the center of the tooth easily. This sensitivity can last up to two months. Newer composite fillings do not generally come with these symptoms, but if they do, please let us know. There could be something else going on with the filling that requires attention.

Cracked tooth? Replace? Repair? Sometimes, if caught early, and the severity is not too great, a cracked tooth can be saved. In any case, a cracked tooth requires attention from professionals immediately, as the situation always deteriorates over time. Don’t ignore it!

Please note that this information is intended to be a public resource of general information, but does not purport to be the final word on YOUR tooth pain. I could write at length about each of these specific symptoms, but I’m keeping it short and to the point here. For answers to problems that you may have, we recommend that you make an appointment to come into the office for a check up.

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“I have been Dr. McNeil’s patient for more years than I can count. From the first day I met him and received treatment, I knew I did not need to look any further for a friendly, professional, and competent dentist. He has a unique office manner that makes you feel comfortable throughout any procedure (and I have experienced most).”

Ron S.