Do you feel a sudden sharp pain when you eat or drink something hot, cold, sweet, or sour? If so, you’re not alone. Tooth sensitivity is a common issue that affects many people. It can be caused by a variety of factors, from brushing too hard to gum disease. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the causes of sensitive teeth and explore some solutions that can help.
From desensitizing toothpaste to fluoride treatment and root canals, let’s look at options to alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by sensitive teeth. From mild or severe tooth sensitivity, you can find relief with the right help!
Are Your Teeth “Sensitive”?
Tooth sensitivity can affect one or more teeth. It is most usually felt when you eat or drink something hot, cold, sweet, or sour. Sometimes even inhaling a breath of cold air can cause pain. If you feel a sudden sharp pain when you do these things, you have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is very common, and sensitivity to cold drinks and food is the most common sign.
What Are the Causes of Sensitive Teeth?
Tooth sensitivity happens when the dentin of a tooth is exposed. Normally, the dentin is covered by enamel above the gum line and cementum below the gum line. When enamel or cementum is worn away, nerve endings in the dentin are exposed resulting in sensitivity. There are a number of causes of sensitive teeth. Some of them have to do with your behavior, and some are related to the condition of your teeth and gums.
Things that You Might Do
Here are some of the reasons you could be dealing with sensitive teeth:
- Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down tooth enamel and expose dental nerves.
- Grinding your teeth can also wear down the enamel and expose dental nerves.
- Eating acidic foods such as tomato sauce, citrus fruits, pickles, and tea can wear down enamel.
- Using a tooth-whitening toothpaste can sometimes be major contributor to sensitive teeth due to the ingredients that cause the whitening.
- Using mouthwash for an extended period can cause sensitivity because of the acids and alcohol it contains.
Things Related to the Condition of your Teeth and Gums
Here are some other potential issues that could lead to sensitive teeth:
- Tooth decay – Tooth decay, especially around fillings or near the gum line, allows bacteria to accumulate, which causes acid buildup and enamel breakdown.
- Plaque buildup – The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause tooth enamel to wear away.
- Gum disease – Receding gums, which are increasingly common with age and poor oral hygiene, can expose the roots of your teeth and thereby cause sensitivity.
- Dental procedure – Dental procedures such as a root canal, tooth restoration, or placement of a crown can make teeth sensitive. If this type of sensitivity doesn’t go away after a short time, you should report it to your dentist.
Solutions for Sensitive Teeth
If you are engaging in a behavior that contributes to sensitive teeth, try making a change and see if it helps. For example, brush more gently, use a softer toothbrush, use a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth, etc.
If you think your sensitivity is related to a gum or tooth condition, you should see your dentist. It could be a sign of a more serious problem. And if tooth sensitivity lasts for longer than a few weeks, get in to see your dentist
Your dentist can offer several potential recommendations for improvement, including:
Desensitizing Toothpaste – A special type of toothpaste designed to help reduce sensitivity in your teeth. These toothpastes are used in replacement of your typical toothpaste, offering the same benefits of most common toothpastes with the additional benefit of helping combat small cases of sensitive teeth. The impact of these toothpastes can vary per case, but keep in mind that you need to use it several times before you’ll start to notice any change at all.
Fluoride Treatment – Fluoride is a special mineral that dentists recommend to help protect your teeth. It protects them by aiding in the remineralization process, strengthening the enamel and shielding your teeth against acidity and damage. The healthier your teeth, the less likely they are to experience sensitivity.
Root Canals – For serious cases of sensitivity, there’s a possibility your tooth may have issues all the way to its root. When decay reaches this far, the problems can quickly exacerbate, leading to issues like dental abscesses. In these cases, a root canal is your best option to not only treat the pain, but also to avoid serious dental health complications.
Contact Walbridge Dental
X-rays are an important part of keeping your smile healthy! From routine cleaning and exams to advanced restorative treatments to oral cancer detection, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.
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