Pain isn’t the only sign that something is wrong with your teeth. A tingling sensation is also a cause for concern.
When you have severe tooth pain, you immediately dial up your dentist. But what if you don’t have a toothache, but rather just a tingling sensation in your mouth? Like a toothache, that tingle could signal more serious dental problems that must be addressed.
Although you may think tingling is nothing to worry about, persistent tingling warrants a trip to the dentist. Like most oral issues, the longer it goes untreated, the more likely it will lead to pain and more extensive care down the line.
What is Causing that Tingling in My Teeth?
To determine what may be causing your teeth to tingle, your dentist will conduct an oral examination and ask you about your symptoms and the frequency of occurrence. Common reasons for the tingling sensations include:
Cavity/Decay. The first sign of tooth decay caused by bacteria are brown or white spots on the tooth. Eventually, the spots burrow down into the tooth’s surface and reach the nerves in the tooth, leading to pain and tingling. To prevent further decay, your dentist will dig out the cavity and plug the tooth with a filling.
Sensitive Teeth. Your teeth are covered by a protective layer of hard enamel that shields the dentin, the inner portion of the tooth made up of microscopic tubules, or channels, which lead to the tooth’s pulp. Over time, enamel wears down, either due to vigorous brushing or consuming acidic foods and drinks. Erosion of the enamel triggers pain and tingling when you eat hot or cold food, or when you bite down too hard. Tooth sensitivity can be managed by using a toothpaste especially made for sensitive teeth and one that contains fluoride. Change to a soft-bristle toothbrush and be gentle when brushing. Lastly, avoid acidic foods that damage enamel.
Broken Tooth. When a tooth cracks open, the nerves within are exposed. Even though you may not see the crack, you will experience the pain and tingling when nerves are irritated. A crown or dental implant can fix a broken tooth.
Pulpitis. Inside your tooth is a fleshy area known as the pulp. It’s crisscrossed by blood vessels and nerve endings. Pulpitis is a bacterial infection that inflames the pulp, resulting in pain, swelling, tingling, and red gums. Treatment methods include filling the cavity to protect the pulp and removing the pulp entirely through a root canal procedure.
Bruxism. Bruxism, or excessive teeth grinding, typically occurs while you’re sleeping. You may not be aware you are grinding your teeth. But during the day, the effects of bruxism cause pain, tingling, and sensitivity. It can be worsened by stress, sleep apnea, excession caffeine or alcohol consumption, and smoking. Your dentist may recommend you wear a mouthguard at night to protect your teeth or practice relaxation techniques.
How to Protect Your Teeth
Preventing toothaches and tingling relies on practicing good dental hygiene. If you want to keep your teeth healthy and pain-free, try these daily techniques:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush.
- Floss daily.
- Avoid highly acidic foods that erode enamel.
- Wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
- Visit your dentist regularly for a cleaning and checkup.
Time to Book Your Dental Appointment
Any unusual oral sensation — whether pain or even just tingling — should be evaluated by a dentist. The longer you wait for treatment, the higher your risk of a serious dental problem later on. The dentists at Espire Dental in Oklahoma City specialize in treating all types of dental conditions with state-of-the-art techniques. Patient comfort is our top priority. Contact us today for an appointment.