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Acute 'electric shock' tooth sensitivity - tooth guard making this worse, or even causing it?



Jan 22, 2010
I have recently developed what appears to be an acute sensitivity problem. I have sensitive teeth in a couple of locations in my mouth. They have been sensitive to hot and cold for some years, I'd guess. It tends to be very hot and icy cold and it hurts, as in pain, but it's always been liveable with. Recently however I have developed what can only be described as acute sensitivity in one (or possibly more; it's hard to tell) teeth on the lower right side.

I wear a night guard for tooth-grinding and, interestingly, there is a deep indentation worn in it exactly above where this tooth is. This sensitivity is like nothing I have ever experienced before. It feels most like an electric shock, as if someone has just stuck a wire right into the centre of the tooth's nerve. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like pain, it's so sharp and white, although it will throb and get antsy afterwards. Also, strangely, it seems to be more sensitive to sugar than any other thing (cold sugar is a real nightmare!).

I'm waiting for X rays at the dentist, who says there is no obvious signs of decay/damage, but I have more than a fortnight to wait for the results and I wondered if any of the dentists on here, who perhaps specialise in misaligned bite or tooth grinding problems, might know what this is. I'm not good with waiting and my anxiety goes into overdrive. The idea of sitting on this fear for a fortnight is killing me!

I have had the tooth guard about 3 years and I wear it every night, but my teeth do often hurt in the mornings from me clenching and I was wondering if the fact that I've worn a 'hole' In the guard directly over this tooth means that the extra thickness or height from the guard has actually caused this, or made it worse. Is the guard doing more harm than good, or vice versa?

I have receding gums but the dentist said they were not excessive, when I asked, so I am mystified as to what is going on. I am also exceedingly anxious that this problem will start occurring in other parts of my mouth. I did report the hole wearing in the night-guard to my dentist about two years ago, when I first noticed it, but he treated it merely as curious, not as a cause for concern. I'd hate to think I'm in this place now because we should have done something about it then. Any input or ideas as to what might be going on most gratefully accepted....
You have exactly what I had, it took 4 dentists finally the last one diagnosed instantly. Cracked tooth. He said I could RC and crown the tooth but no guarantee its not cracked in the root. We pulled it and there were 4 cracks, when I ate sugar it hurt like heck, sensitivity was insane, I lived like that until the shock part came into play. Don't let an egg white touch it you'll get zapped. My teeth cracks couldn't be seen on xray it was crazy zap. One time I was eating a sandwich it zapped me and I flung the sandwich across the room and electrical current in there. I grind didn't know it until it was too late, and I think when I got tooth number 13 extracted rooth canaled tooth snapped at the gum line, my grinding got worse this cracked tooth same one other side tooth 4 premolar. By the way none of the other 3 dentists had any idea other than they thought maybe a leaking filling. I hope you get an answer, if it turns out something else let me know plz, would love to know another cause of the zapping electrical current.
Thanks, for the reply, Penny. I've thought about cracking, but unless it happened at night, when I wasn't aware of it, I certainly haven't done anything to crack it - unless the tooth grinding finally got it. I'm hoping it isn't that; I hate the thought of another root canal, but we'll see...
Sorry, Penny, I forgot to ask you, did your tooth also hurt with hot and cold, i.e. was it generally sensitive, or was it just sugar that gave it the electric shock feeling?
This tooth was extremely sensitive to hot and cold, I lived with it for several years mind you at 6 month cleanings they couldn't even get near the tooth, the water would just kill me in pain when I lost the one tooth I thought I will get my teeth cleaned and try and get in better shape, because I lost the left side premolar tooth I had to eat on the right side, the bad side which mind you I absolutely avoided for several years, the sensitivity and the sweet tooth part of the tooth kept me off the tooth, using that side (knowing now it was cracked the whole time) didn't know it, it cracked more because one day I bit down on the tooth and it was really really bad, I started going to different dentists trying to find out the problem, one dentist put fluoride paste on the teeth thinking this would help with it being so sensitive, she didn't say a word about a crack she was perplexed with the symptoms, sensitivity, sweet tooth, zapping, pain when chewing on it, omg after an hour of putting fluoride on the tooth the pain was really bad, the next few days I went to my dentist and he diagnosed it cracked right after I told him the part of the zapping he explained the zapping part why it zaps because of the crack this was the clue to it. He said he wanted me to go to a Endodontists and get a RC and come back to him for a crown 1000.00 I talked to the referred Endodontists about the RC and the tooth having a crack and will a RC work He said once he was in the tooth with the camera, magnifying if it was cracked in the root he would pull out and charge me 500.00 plus and extraction cost. I believe it was because I touched the upper gum above the tooth and it was very painful, not just in the tooth there was 4 cracks in the tooth not obvious to the other dentist but the dentist said good call. If you go for the RC make sure and ask the Endodontists what if there is a crack in the root? The tooth can still break with or without a RC in the root then its going to get extracted anyway. I was pretty pathetic in my dentist chair, I didn't want to lose the tooth but I was not about to take a chance on the root being cracked, and the 2k did help with this decision also, didn't have the money. I am pretty sad all the years I suffered and not less than 8 dentist didn't put the connection together with the sensitivity and the sweet tooth part not one said crack, but the zapping part came at the end, the dentist said to use sensitive toothpaste which made it worse by the way.
Thanks for that, Penny. My tooth's got quite a bit worse and I now can't really eat at all (or drink) since everything is making it do random shocks. My guess is it's decayed under the gum line, out of sight. I've had my appointment bumped forward to tomorrow because it's so uncomfortable, so hopefully the X-Ray will have revealed something. Scared sh**less, of course, but doing hypnosis to try and help. This is where I wish I'd kept some Diazepam in the house!
Please let me know what the dentist says very interested. Don't be scared hopefully is something different than mine and hopefully is an easy fix one of my four dentist did say he thought cavity under filling I am glad I didn't listen to him.
Hi Penny, you probably aren't even on the forum any more, but I'm posting this for anyone who comes across it. It was not toothache, it was in fact Trigeminal Neuralgia, a condition caused by a damaged Trigeminal Nerve. It is easily mistaken for toothache, as my post proves. I have had this for a year now but am currently in a period of some remission. There is a sticky post about this at the top of the forum, but if anyone feels they need some advice on the subject please feel free to contact me.