What To Do If Your Tooth Nerve Is Exposed?

What To Do If Your Tooth Nerve Is Exposed?

May 1, 2022

While your teeth are naturally strong and durable, they are not indestructible. Due to certain reasons, your tooth’s nerves can be exposed. Usually, a tooth is composed of three main layers. The enamel is the hardest and the outermost layer of the tooth. Under the enamel is the dentin, which gives the tooth its characteristic color. The tooth’s pulp is the innermost layer and harbors the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels.

If the enamel and dentin are compromised, your tooth’s nerves can be exposed, causing great discomfort and sensitivity, especially when brushing and eating. When bacteria find their way to the tooth’s pulp, the blood vessels and nerves can be infected, resulting in further complications. You should contact your dentist right away to address this issue.

Common Signs That Your Tooth is Exposed Include:

  • Pain and swelling. You’re likely to experience pain or swelling if your tooth’s nerves are infected or exposed. The swelling is caused by the waste chemicals released by the infected tissues.
  • Tender gums. The gums around an exposed tooth may feel sore or tender, especially when brushing and eating.
  • Longer-looking tooth. If your tooth looks longer than usual, it could be that your gums are receding.
  • Tooth Dislocation. Your tooth may appear darker if the tooth’s pulp is infected.
  • Sensitivity. You’ll likely experience sensitivity when eating hot, cold, sour, acidic, and sweet items.

What Causes Exposed Tooth Nerves?

There are several ways in which a tooth’s nerves can become exposed. The most common cause is tooth decay. Tooth decay most happens when plaque and bacteria build up in the mouth, releasing harmful chemicals that attack the tooth’s enamel. When the enamel is compromised, the bacteria enter the tooth’s pulp and infect the nerves and other tissues.

Periodontal disease or gum disease is another key cause of exposed tooth nerves. Gum disease causes your gum tissue to recede, exposing the tooth’s roots and nerves. Similarly, tooth nerve exposure may happen due to dental trauma like a chipped, broken, or cracked tooth.

How to Treat an Exposed Tooth Nerve

The first rule to manage exposed nerve tooth pain is to visit an emergency dentist near you. The dentist will begin by relieving the pain sensation. Next, they will examine your tooth and determine the underlying cause. Once they find out exactly what’s causing the problem, they will create a customized treatment plan to address the issue.

  • Tooth decay. If the condition is caused by tooth decay, your dentist will recommend endodontic treatments such as root canal therapy. The treatment involves removing the infected tooth’s pulp and replacing it with filling materials. A dental crown can be added for extra strength and protection.
  • Gum disease. If the tooth nerves are exposed due to gum disease, the dentist can use a variety of procedures depending on the severity of the disease. Common treatments for gum disease include scaling and root planing, deep cleaning, flap surgery, gingival mask, bone grafts, and gum grafts.
  • Dental trauma. If the tooth’s nerves are exposed due to chips, cracks, breaks, or enamel erosion, your dentist can recommend placing a dental crown. A crown covers the entire structure of the tooth, protecting it from irritants and bacteria. If you grind your teeth, our emergency dentist near you can recommend wearing a nightguard when sleeping. A sports mouthguard is also essential to prevent dental trauma during contact sports.

The Bottom Line: Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Always, it’s better to prevent nerve exposure than cure one. Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid these, including:

  1. Brush and floss twice a day. Good oral hygiene is key to maintaining good oral health. Brushing and flossing twice daily will help remove bacteria and food debris between teeth, the key causes of tooth infection and nerve damage.
  2. Don’t brush too vigorously. Brushing vigorously and using abrasive products can harm your tooth’s enamel and expose your tooth’s nerves. Always brush gently using a soft-bristled brush and the right dental products.
  3. Avoid sugary and sticky foods. The bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars we consume. High sugar and sticky diet increase your risk of plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth, eventually leading to a tooth infection.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Do you have an exposed tooth nerve? Contact Madison Lakes Dental today for emergency dental care.