For the past few weeks, my left first molar has been sensitive. It is hoe sensitive to heat or cold, but it is sensitive to pressure near the gumline. I get regular cleanings at the dentist. Could this be tooth decay that my dentist has not detected? I stopped using my teeth whitening trays because it makes the sensitivity worse. – Thank you. Xavier from Oklahoma City
Thank you for your question.
Continuous tooth irritation can lead to nerve damage and root canal treatment. When teeth are sensitive to heat and cold, it Is a symptom of progressing infection. But if you only feel sensitivity to the touch in a spot, hear your gumline, your dentist can seal the area with a small filling to relieve the sensitivity.
What Causes Sensitivity Near the Gumline?
Teeth flex for several reasons, including:
- Chewing food
- Grinding teeth
- Clenching teeth
Grinding and clenching increase the pressure on teeth and cause more damage to them. If you clench or grind your teeth, consider asking your dentist for a custom night guard, an oral appliance you can wear at night. A night guard will minimize the impact on your teeth.
It is challenging for many dentists to get fillings to adhere in the grooves without popping out. But flexible filling material, such as a microfill composite will stick. Your dentist must keep your tooth dry while applying composite to ensure a firm bond.
Sensitivity near the gumline is not always a symptom of tooth decay. If you have bulges in a tooth, your dentist can seal it or use a small amount of microfill to eliminate the sensitivity.
If your dentist cannot resolve the issue, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a skilled cosmetic dentist to place the filling. After the sensitivity resolves, you can resume teeth whitening treatment.
Dr. Duane Delaune, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Metairie, LA, sponsors this post.