Having an exposed nerve in your tooth is often an agonizing experience, with severe, sharp pain from eating, brushing, or merely brushing against the tooth with your tongue. It’s a problem for a qualified emergency dentist to address.
This article will explain why you can have an exposed tooth nerve and how a dentist will treat it. Next, we’ll let you know what you can do if you can’t see the dentist right away. Finally, we’ll give you the best advice on what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future.
Explained: Causes of an Exposed Tooth Nerve
Your teeth are composed of three basic layers. The outermost layer is composed of strong enamel, which has a translucent, whitish hue. Underneath it is a layer of sensitive dentin, which forms the majority of the content of the tooth, and gives the teeth their characteristic color. The innermost layer is the tooth pulp, which is delicate, extremely sensitive, and rich with nerves and blood vessels sealed away from the rest of the oral cavity. If either of the inner two layers is compromised, the tooth can become incredibly sensitive and might hurt at even the slightest touch.
If you think you have an exposed tooth nerve, the affected tooth may have an exposed root.
What To Do If You Can’t See A Dentist Right Away
We understand that the pain can be debilitating, but it might not be possible to see a dentist right away. In that case:
- Use an oral numbing gel. They’re available at most pharmacies and use benzocaine or another local anesthetic to numb the area and prevent or lessen the painful sensation. One popular brand is Orajel.
- Cover the area with a piece of sugar-free gum. This can temporarily relieve the pain and keep the nerve covered until you can see a dentist.
- Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Some kinds of toothpaste are designed specifically to reduce sensitivity. If you can’t brush your teeth due to the pain and can’t find an oral numbing gel, apply a small amount of toothpaste over the affected area using your finger. Rinse after a while to allow the ingredients to work.
How To Treat an Exposed Tooth Nerve
It’s important to find a qualified emergency dentist to get immediate treatment.
The dentist will initially apply a gel or spray of desensitizing agents to relieve the immediate pain sensation. Once that has been dealt with, they will find out why exactly the nerve has been exposed. This may be due to tooth decay exposing the dentin or pulp, an exposed root due to periodontal disease, or any combination of factors.
Next, the dentist will let you know what treatment they recommend. They may place a crown over the tooth if it is cracked. If the tooth has developed an infection, they may recommend a root canal, dental fillings, or tooth inlays.
If periodontal (gum) disease is the cause, the dentist may opt to perform a thorough cleaning and a gum tissue graft to protect the nerve against further damage and irritation.
The Bottom Line: Prevention Is Better Than Cure
From the best dentist in Humble, TX, we’ve listed some of the most effective ways to prevent an exposed nerve from occurring.
- Brush and floss twice a day. Make sure you brush for a minimum of two minutes and floss regularly to remove food debris and bacteria from between your teeth.
- Don’t brush too vigorously. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and don’t apply too much pressure.
- Avoid sugary and sticky foods. Sugar is the perfect medium for oral bacteria to thrive in, multiply and cause tooth decay and gum recession.
Lonestar Dental Center is your complete oral healthcare destination for various dental procedures and comprehensive exams. We provide excellent service from the very beginning of your time with us in Humble, TX. If you’d like to schedule an appointment or have any questions, feel free to give us a call at (281) 233-0333.