Tooth sensitivity is a dental condition that affects millions of people at some point in their life. The most common symptom of tooth sensitivity comes in the form of tooth pain in reaction to hot or cold sensations. Tooth sensitivity has many causes, and some of these are more easily treated than others. It can also be indicative of a more serious dental problem or condition. Let’s take a look at some facts about tooth sensitivity, its causes, and potential treatments.
In order to prevent tooth sensitivity, it is important to have an understanding of the anatomy of your teeth. The hard, shiny outer layer of your teeth is called enamel. Enamel functions to protect the softer, porous layer below, called dentin. The dentin is protected by a thin, hard layer called cementum on the part of your tooth that is rooted below the gum line. Inside the center of your tooth lies the root canal, which is filled with a substance called the pulp, which is made up of nerves & blood vessels.
Tooth pain or sensitivity occurs when dentin is exposed & heat or cold penetrates through it & irritates the nerve of your tooth. Dentin can become exposed when there is a wearing away of enamel & cementum. Receding gums can also cause the dentin to become exposed.
There are a few ways that enamel can be worn away:
• Build up of bacteria from poor oral hygiene can cause enamel erosion & decay.
• Brushing with a hard bristle brush, or brushing too hard, can also wear away at the enamel.
• Excessive eating or drinking highly acidic foods such as soft drinks or energy drinks.
• Nighttime teeth grinding can also erode enamel.
Tooth sensitivity can also be caused by a crack or a cavity in your tooth that you may not know is there. If you have intense sensitivity that persists for multiple days, make an appointment with Susanville Dental Specialties located in Susanville, California, as soon as you can so we can look for decay or damage.
Old fillings that may have become loose or developed tooth decay around them can also contribute to tooth sensitivity. Fluids can get under & around the filling & irritate the nerve through the dentin. If you find that a
tooth with a filling has become extra sensitive, schedule a checkup with our office immediately so we can see if the filling needs to be replaced.
Some people also experience tooth sensitivity after dental procedures, particularly professional teeth whitening or bleaching. People with sensitive teeth can also be irritated by the chemicals present in some tooth-whitening toothpastes.
Tooth sensitivity is also a symptom of gum disease. Gum disease causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, leaving the dentin exposed.
One of the best treatments for sensitive teeth is a change in your oral care routine. If you brush too hard or use a hard bristle toothbrush, try switching to a soft bristle brush & brushing less aggressively. If you experience sensitivity when using a whitening toothpaste, try switching to an anti-sensitivity toothpaste that also contains fluoride, which helps remineralize & strengthen tooth enamel. These changes can help to decrease your tooth sensitivity over time.
If you still experience a level of sensitivity that causes discomfort, call Susanville Dental Specialties. Our dentist may be able to provide treatments such as anti sensitivity paste, that can help lessen your discomfort.