Teeth have nerves within them and around them (gum and bone). The mouth has a great number of bacteria present. These normally live in harmony with us. However when the bacteria get to parts of the tooth where they cannot be removed either by brushing or flossing they cause problems such as cavities. This occurs in conjunction with other factors. The tooth normally would then become sensitive.
This lets us know if there is a potential risk of infection so it can be dealt with before it worsens. This can present as sensitivity or tenderness or even a swelling. Sometimes nothing is felt and the dentist may notice a change in the mouth or radiograph (x-ray). This is why it is important to have regular check-ups and x-rays.
It is better and easier to deal with the cause of sensitivity if it is picked up earlier. Sometimes the treatment is as simple as painting on a flouride gel such as Gluma. Prolonged infections allow more aggressive bacteria to establish and this can lead to resistance and a lower success rate with treatment such as root canal treatment. The success rates are good with over 90% on average. The treatment is simpler if less infection is present and more comfortable as the anaesthetic is more effective.
So although it may seem like not having nerves in teeth would be better as less pain would be felt. It would mean we would be more prone to getting infections without realising it. This is sometimes seen when a tooth “dies” and whatever sensitivity the person was feeling goes. There is the false sense that all is fine. However the bacteria continue to work within the tooth and it can then lead to a worsening infection later on. This can potentially lead to the tooth being too damaged to treat; leading to loss of the tooth. Thanks to Sameena Choudhry our specialist endodontist for this article.
It is better to deal with any sensitivity or concerns even if it seems to have settled!! Book your dental appointment HERE and stop wondering why your teeth hurt.