• Dr. Johnson Ozgur

Sensitive Tooth and Tooth Root Exposure

Updated: Aug 12

Tooth sensitivity is an early sign of tooth root exposure. To help you protect your oral health, here is everything you need to know about sensitive teeth and tooth root exposure.


What are tooth roots?

A tooth root is the invisible part of the tooth that sits below the gum line. It anchors your tooth on the jawbone. Your tooth roots are covered by cementum that offers protection like teeth enamel. However, cementum is not as hard as tooth enamel. If your tooth’s roots are exposed, light brushing can wear out this protective layer. Exposed tooth roots are also susceptible to decay.

What are the causes of tooth root exposure?

The leading cause of exposed tooth roots is gum recession, which occurs over time due to wear and tear. Aggressive brushing increases the risk of receding gums. Periodontal disease can also cause receding gums, leading to tooth-root exposure. Most cases of gum disease are linked to poor dental hygiene. If you don’t maintain good oral hygiene, plaque buildup and bacteria between your teeth and gums can cause an infection and periodontal disease. Ageing also increases the risk of receding gum and tooth root exposure. Other causes of exposed tooth roots include misaligned teeth, smoking and tobacco use, bruxism, teeth grinding, and injury. To reduce the risk of tooth root exposure, avoid counterproductive habits and adhere to oral hygiene best practices. Good oral health is your first line of defence against gum disease and exposed tooth roots.


How do you know if your tooth root is exposed?

The first symptom of tooth root exposure is teeth sensitivity. If your tooth root is exposed, you’ll experience some sensitivity, pain, or discomfort when eating hot, cold, or acidic foods. Brushing your teeth can also cause teeth sensitivity. If you have a sensitive tooth, check whether your tooth root is exposed. Other symptoms include tenderness and swelling around the site, bleeding gums, and tooth discolouration. Receding gums can also make your teeth appear longer than usual. If you have any of these symptoms, visit your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.


How long will an exposed tooth nerve hurt?

Tooth pain from an exposed tooth nerve will not disappear on its own. You can alleviate the pain by brushing your teeth with desensitizing toothpaste or using a mouthwash with fluoride. But these remedies offer temporary relief. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, visit your Toronto dentist. You can also go to the emergency room or urgent dental care if you can’t reach your dentist.

How do you calm an inflamed tooth nerve?

Several home remedies can calm an inflamed tooth nerve, including saltwater rinse, green tea, vanilla extract, and turmeric. Your Toronto dentist can recommend desensitizing toothpaste to shield exposed nerves from irritants. This toothpaste can decrease tooth sensitivity more effectively than home remedies. Avoid hot, cold, acidic, and sugary foods and drinks that can irritate nerve endings and cause you pain or discomfort.


How do you fix tooth root exposure?

Your dentist or periodontist will examine your teeth and gums. They'll recommend one or several dental procedures to fix tooth root exposure and address the underlying cause.


Ø Gum graft:

If receding gum is exposing tooth roots, you may need gum graft surgery. Your periodontist grafts a small amount of gum tissue on the affected site. This dental procedure restores lost gum tissue due to gum recession and protects against tooth decay.


Ø Dental crowns:

Your Toronto dentist can also use a dental crown to cover the affected tooth and its roots. Porcelain crowns can prevent sensitivity and protect against tooth decay.


Ø Root canal:

Exposed tooth roots are susceptible to infection. Your Toronto dentist will perform a root canal to treat infected teeth. Root canal treatments remove infected pulp inside the tooth. If you need additional treatments, your dentist can use a temporary filling to cover the chewing surface and replace it with a permanent filling.


Ø Deep cleaning:

The buildup of plaque, tartar, and bacteria on exposed tooth root increase the risk of gum disease and tooth infections. Your Toronto dentist can conduct deep cleaning, including dental scaling and root planing to remove bacteria and tartar buildup below your gum line. They’ll also smoothen the surface of exposed tooth roots to prevent buildup.

Ø Teeth grinding treatment:

Your dentist will give you a mouthguard if you clench and grind your teeth at night. It can reduce the impact of teeth grinding.

Your dentist or periodontist may recommend other dental procedures to treat or protect exposed tooth roots, including teeth bonding, gingival mask, fluoride varnishes, and dentin sealers. The cause and severity of tooth root exposure will determine the best treatment options.


What happens if the root of your tooth is exposed?

Tooth roots contain dentin and nerve pulp. If the roots are exposed, the cementum can wear out. Without this protective layer, the dentin's tubules will transmit sensations from hot and cold foods and drinks to the nerves. These sensations stimulate the nerve pulp, leading to tooth pain and sensitivity. If you don’t seek proper treatment, the underlying cause will worsen over time and spread to your jaw muscles and bones. It also increases the risk of sinus infection. A tooth infection due to tooth-root exposure can develop into periodontal disease. This progressive gum disease can destroy your jawbone and soft gum tissues, leading to tooth loss. But you can avoid these risks by visiting your Toronto dentist or periodontist. You may also need to make lifestyle changes and improve overall oral health to reduce the risk of developing tooth root exposure in the future.

To get the best tooth root exposure treatment, choose the right general dentist or periodontist. If you live in Toronto, you can rely on Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental to fix exposed tooth roots.


Why Toronto Smile Design?

Toronto Smile Design’s Dr. Johnson Ozgur is a Toronto dentist with a Master's Degree in Oral Surgery. Dr. Johnson has over 10 years of experience in general dental care, oral surgery and endodontic treatments to fix tooth root exposure. You can also rely on Dr. Johnson’s expertise in root canals, bone and gum grafts, dental crowns, deep cleaning, porcelain veneers, dental implants, and more. To fix exposed tooth roots, please contact Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental today!