How do I know when it's time to see a dentist? Is it more like a toothache?
If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days and reacts to hot and cold temperatures, it's best to get a diagnostic evaluation from Dr. McBride to determine the extent of the problem. Before taking the situation into your own hands, an accurate diagnosis of tooth sensitivity is essential for effective treatment to eliminate pain. Because pain symptoms can be similar, some people might think that a tooth is sensitive, when instead they actually have a fracture, cavity or abscess that's not yet visible.

How do I describe my symptoms to the dentist?
Sensitivity may be defined as a short sharp pain, which is usually initiated by hot or cold foods or exposure to cold air. Aching often follows. Because sensitivity may mean different things to a patient and dental professional, be sure to clarify exactly what you feel when you discuss the condition with Dr. McBride. Be sure to tell him when the pain started and if there is anything, such as the application of a warm compress, that helps eliminate the pain.

Do some products work to help decrease sensitivity?
Toothpastes for sensitive teeth usually contain a desensitizing agent that protects the exposed dentin by blocking the tubes in the teeth that are connected to nerves. In most cases, these products must be used on a regular basis for at least a month before any therapeutic benefits may be noticed.


Why are my teeth sensitive? 
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the stimulation of nerve cells within tiny tubules located in the dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp). When the hard enamel is worn down or gums have receded causing the tiny tubules to be exposed pain can be caused by eating or drinking food and beverages that are hot or cold; touching your teeth; or exposing them to cold air.

Hot and cold temperature changes cause your teeth to expand and contract. Over time, your teeth can develop microscopic cracks that allow these sensations to seep through to the nerves. Exposed areas of the tooth can cause pain and even affect or change your eating, drinking and breathing habits. Taking a spoonful of ice cream, for example, can be a painful experience for people with sensitive teeth.


When you think of it, the way the teeth mesh when closed together and during chewing function are the only real dictate of the positions of the TMJ’s, which are somewhat of a “hinge” affair. Unlike a door, however, that won’t close properly within its jamb if the hinges were placed incorrectly, the jaw joints, are somewhat pliable, having a cartilage disk between the ball and socket, and unlike the door hinges, they can be compressed or stretched out of their proper positions when the teeth contact to accommodate the off-bite. This is essentially verified by the fact that people without teeth rarely have “TMJ.” Even people with the well-made dentures can exhibit only 25% of the pressure on their TMJ’s and surrounding areas compared to that of people with their natural teeth. Improper teeth meshing, or malocclusion, can be a result of several factors, including a naturally poor bite, trauma, dental treatment such as fillings, crowns and bridges and orthodontic treatment that were undertaken without a consideration of how teeth relate to each other with proper occlusion, i.e., a healthy bite. I routinely see new patients with bites that don’t match their TMJ’s with the above cited symptoms who are unaware of them being related to their bite. I regularly see upper and lower crowns, bridges and fillings that don’t match, and around one half the patients I treat with TMJ symptoms have undergone orthodontic treatment. The orthodontist may have straightened the teeth, but the treatment ended up without consideration of the proper positioning of the TMJ’s.

For a thorough and detailed description of how TMJ problems are dealt within The Dental Wellness Center, “Bioesthetics, Oral Beauty, Function and Temporomandibular Dysfunction  (TMJ”) click on this link: http://www.longbeachholisticdentist.com/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=40459