Are my teeth going to fall out?
August 11, 2007 11:12 PM   Subscribe

Why have my upper front teeth become sensitive to shock and rapid movement, and should I be worried? If so, what can I do about it?

I noticed a few days ago while I was walking that I could feel the shocks from my footsteps in my upper front teeth. I wasn't clenching them, and when I tried clenching them the sensation seemed to go away. I don't think that's a very good solution though. I also got the same sensation when I was towel drying my hair the other day, and can reproduce it at any time by shaking my head. When I shake my head it feels like the teeth are wagging back and forth and it's fairly uncomfortable. I don't do this often, just once a day since I noticed the weird sensitivity, to determine if it's still there.

As far as I can tell my teeth haven't become any more sensitive to hot or cold, and I don't experience any pain when chewing or biting.

I have noticed that the backs of my upper front teeth have been getting a little fuzzier than usual lately, and that they have required some extra brushing. I figured the extra plaque was probably due to changes in my diet since I moved to Beijing (13 days ago), but perhaps it is something more sinister? My diet since I arrived has generally been better than it was back in Canada, so I've tentatively ruled out scurvy, but I don't really have any other ideas.

What could be causing this? Will it go away on its own? Is there something I can do to get things back to normal faster? Should I see a dentist ASAP? I really want to avoid troubling my co-workers to arrange to see a dentist and then be told that there's nothing wrong. If necessary I'll go that route, but I would rather try other options first.

I will be checking back frequently and can post additional details and/or photos if it would be helpful.

Thanks hive mind!
posted by benign to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
Sensitive to temperature? try some ice against the teeth. But don't want to scare you about the possibility of an abscess under the root of the tooth. No doubt there are more likely answers to come.
posted by artdrectr at 11:32 PM on August 11, 2007

Could be due to anything from gum recession (fixable with Sensodyne toothpaste) or a cavity or worse. In other words, see a dentist.
posted by randomstriker at 11:53 PM on August 11, 2007

Probably a long shot, but have you had any headaches? My teeth often hurt or feel strange right before I have a migraine.
posted by happyturtle at 3:12 AM on August 12, 2007

Best answer: Are you congested? On the brink of a sinus infection? Did you recently fly?

Could be pressure in your sinus cavities referring symptoms to your teeth.
posted by Jazz Hands at 5:37 AM on August 12, 2007

The fuzziness on your teeth doesn't seem connected to the concussion symptoms, you are most likely correct it's from the change of diet.
posted by Jazz Hands at 5:38 AM on August 12, 2007

Response by poster: Jazz Hands: I actually am just getting over a bad head cold. I had quite a lot of sinus pressure for a few days, but that has passed now. I am still a little congested but that seems to be getting better now as well. The last time I flew was when I arrived here, though my apartment is on the 24th floor, and the height is enough for me to pop my ears when I go up or down.

happyturtle: The only headaches I've had were due to sinus pressure and thankfully they're gone.

randomstriker: Gum recession seems plausible since I've had to brush the backs of my teeth a little more than usual, is there any way to check this? Also I don't know if I can get Sensodyne here...

artdrectr: I don't have any ice on hand to test, but I haven't had any trouble with cold (0 C) milk or hot coffee.

Thanks for the ideas so far everyone.
posted by benign at 6:27 AM on August 12, 2007

Best answer: Second the sinus infection.

Strange sensations in your teeth are a classic symptom of sinus infections. There's absolutely nothing wrong with your teeth - but if this persists you should see your doctor about possibly getting on antibiotics. A dentist probably can't help you.
posted by dendrite at 9:57 AM on August 12, 2007

Best answer: I think dendrite has it right. Sinus infection.
posted by JayRwv at 10:22 AM on August 12, 2007

Best answer: Fourthing sinus issue. My teeth hurt when my sinuses are bad. I found this out when I went to the dentist because of tooth discomfort, and an x-ray showed nothing wrong with my teeth, but ick in my sinuses. That said, best to get it checked.
posted by biscotti at 12:39 PM on August 12, 2007

you will need a route canal operation, definitely. it is very expensive, and tedious.
posted by edtut at 11:49 PM on August 12, 2007

Response by poster: edtut: what leads you to that conclusion?

As of this morning I don't get the weird sensation when I shake my head, but I still get it when I walk, so it seems to be getting better. If it goes away entirely by itself then I guess I'll chalk it up to the sinus congestion.
posted by benign at 6:43 AM on August 13, 2007

Have you been taking decongestants? Even ibuprofen can help with the inflammation/pain.

As far as the root canal suggestion, symptoms you are looking for: sudden, severe pain with hot food/drink, throbbing pain when lying down, unable to tap on tooth without sending you through the roof, a diffuse jaw/ facial swelling OR a pimply, draining bump near the root tip.

You don't just get a root canal for teeth that feel "weird".
posted by Jazz Hands at 6:59 AM on August 13, 2007

Response by poster: Hmm, haven't had any pain at all (not when drinking hot things, lying down, or tapping the teeth) and there doesn't seem to be any swelling either. I was taking pseudoephdrine and acetaminophen for a few days when the sinus pressure was the worst, but I stopped a few days ago because it wasn't bothering me anymore. I definitely still have a cold. I'm somewhat congested and expelling yellow phlegm fairly regularly, but it isn't causing my any discomfort (other than in the teeth apparently...) so I was just planning to ride it out.
posted by benign at 7:20 AM on August 13, 2007

Then I think we've healed you! Just kidding( IANAMD or ADentist usual disclaimer) But I have been a dental assistant for 20 years.

Keep an eye on that head cold, drink plenty of fluids, chicken soup etc. It sounds like you've been able to get some really delicious/nutritious local foods. ( Lucky!)

Just FYI on gum recession, if you can touch the area at the gumline with your fingernail and get an "electric shock" type sensation, or you have a general cold sensitivity, then toothpastes with potassium nitrate help block the conduction of those sensations, or daily fluoride application helps too. Also use soft bristled toothbrushes as to not abrade the gum tissue.
posted by Jazz Hands at 9:18 AM on August 13, 2007

Response by poster: Aye aye Jazz Hands! Thanks so much for following up and thanks everyone for chiming in.
posted by benign at 6:06 PM on August 13, 2007

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