Are Sensitive Teeth a Sign I Need a Root Canal?

You might have sensitive teeth occasionally, such as when cold air hits your teeth outside or when you’re drinking a hot beverage. Eating ice cream or other cold foods might also cause your teeth to feel sensitive. When you have sensitivity that is severe or doesn’t go away with other treatments, a root canal might help.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

You can develop sensitive teeth for different reasons, including grinding your teeth or brushing too hard, which can damage tooth enamel. Sensitive teeth can also occur if you eat or drink foods and beverages that have a high acidic content on a regular basis, such as citrus fruits and soda, since these wear away tooth enamel. Having certain underlying conditions, such as acid reflux, can also raise your risk of having tooth sensitivity.

Dental problems that expose the dentin inside teeth, such as broken teeth and tooth decay, can also make them more sensitive. Having crowns or fillings that are worn down can lead to sensitive teeth as well. You can also develop sensitivity if you have your teeth bleached or whitened, although this is only temporary.

In some cases, tooth roots can become exposed due to receding gums or gum disease. Injuries and misaligned teeth can also lead to exposed tooth roots. When these roots are exposed, the nerves inside them can react to heat and cold. You might feel a sharp, sudden pain when eating or drinking something hot or cold, or you might experience a mild ache.

Without effective treatment, you might have persistent sensitivity that doesn’t go away when you’re done eating or drinking. Your dentist might have you try using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth and take other measures to ease this discomfort. For example, you might find relief by managing underlying medical conditions, such as acid reflux, or having gum grafts done for receding gums. You might benefit from having a root canal to treat tooth sensitivity if other measures aren’t working.

How a Root Canal Can Help

Endodontists perform root canals to remove decayed or damaged pulp inside teeth. This pulp contains nerves that can cause tooth sensitivity. Removing the pulp and disinfecting tooth roots can provide immediate and long-term relief from sensitivity. During root canals, endodontists take out any decayed or damaged pulp, then thoroughly clean the canal. The next steps involve filling and sealing the affected tooth and putting a temporary filling in place. After the tooth heals, a permanent filling replaces the temporary one.

When you have a root canal done, you won’t have exposed tooth roots that cause sensitivity anymore. After having this procedure done, you should be able to eat and drink hot and cold beverages and foods without experiencing discomfort. Keep in mind that taking good care of your teeth can help lower your risk of developing sensitivity and needing additional root canals done.

When to Consider a Root Canal for Sensitive Teeth

When should you look into having a root canal to ease tooth sensitivity? This might be the right treatment option for you if other kinds of treatments haven’t been effective, such as desensitizing toothpaste. When you’ve tried other treatments and still have frequent or severe sensitivity, your dentist might recommend seeing an endodontist. Endodontists can evaluate your teeth and determine if a root canal is the best treatment for tooth sensitivity.

If you have sensitive teeth that are causing ongoing pain or discomfort, please contact Largo Endodontics for an appointment. Our endodontist, Dr. Ernest Rillman, can perform a root canal to provide you with relief.