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You’re minding your own business, happily licking a french vanilla ice cream cone like a dog with a bone. Then … Ouch! Your left lower bicuspid sends you sharp pain. This may be the first warning sign of a cavity, or it may be that your teeth have become sensitive. You’ll need to visit your dentist to find out.

If it’s not a cavity, there are multiple causes behind sensitive teeth. It could be that you have worn away the tooth enamel on a particular tooth or teeth. If you have receding gum lines there may be a root exposed. Both crown and root have protective coatings that give some protection from cold, hot, and sweetness, but once exposed the dentin that makes up the layer underneath has a direct line to the nerves, and the tooth is vulnerable to further decay.

So what are your options if you start feeling tooth sensitivity to temperature and/or sweets? Dentists have treatments that will take away the discomfort of sensitive teeth once they have detected the exact cause. Here are some of the options:

-Gel fluoride: To strengthen tooth enamel and cover exposed areas.
-A crown, inlay or bonding: In the case of decay, fractures or flaws.
-Gum graft: Replacing lost gum tissue that has exposed a root.
-Special toothpaste: To block transmission and desensitize tooth nerves.
-Root canal: If severe enough that the pain cannot be addressed any other way.

If you’d like more information about treating sensitive teeth, call Drs. Ron and Tish Ranson and our team at Ranson Family Dental. Make an appointment at: 309-263-2021, or come by our office in Morton, Illinois.