What is Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, is the term used for the pain associated with your teeth when they are exposed to hot, cold, or overly sweet or acidic liquids or foods. Tooth sensitivity can even be noticed when your teeth are exposed to cold air.
When the enamel or outer coating of the tooth is chipped, cracked, or weakened by decay or other factors, then the softer dentin beneath becomes exposed. Dentin is porous, containing many tiny channels that run through it to the sensitive nerve-containing pulp at the center of your tooth. These channels allow the nerves within the tooth to react to those external factors such as hot and cold and produce momentary sharp pains.
What are the common causes of sensitive teeth?
Common causes of sensitive teeth are:
- Using a hard toothbrush: stiff bristles on a toothbrush can wear enamel down, especially when used roughly and in a side-to-side manner, instead of with gentle, vertical strokes.
- Using an abrasive toothpaste: this can also wear down the enamel and cause eventual sensitivity
- Having a cracked or chipped tooth: this can allow the dentin below the enamel to become exposed which may lead to sensitivity.
- Grinding your teeth: if you are prone to grinding your teeth you may eventually experience sensitivity as the enamel is gradually worn down by friction between the teeth.
- Gum recession or gum disease: this causes the gum to recede away from the base of the tooth, where the enamel thins, exposing the dentin.
- Acidic foods: highly acidic food and drink can cause the enamel to weaken.
These are just some of the causes of sensitive teeth, but thankfully, there are ways to strengthen your teeth and end tooth sensitivity.
How can it be treated?
Treatment can start at home by using a fluoride toothpaste eases sensitivity. Also switching to a soft toothbrush can help to prevent further wear on your teeth. Using a fluoride gel or fluoride rinse can also help, along with just avoiding acidic foods and drinks. You can consider getting a mouthguard if you grind your teeth.
If sensitivity seems to be persistent or severe, then seeing Dr. Hardin is the next step. Then the root of the sensitivity can be uncovered. There are a few treatments that could be suggested based off of what kind of condition your teeth and gums are in.
Some of these could include:
- Fixing or sealing any cracks in the teeth
- Undergoing a gum graft to protect the root of the affected tooth
- Treating gum disease
- Having bonding applied to the exposed root
- Root canal treatment
Why should I choose Hardin Advanced Dentistry?
Hardin Advanced Dentistry offers dental care at every level, from below the gums, to cosmetic enhancements such as veneers and total smile makeovers. Dr. Hardin and her team are knowledgeable and friendly, and they strive to offer the best patient experience in every appointment and treatment. Dr. Hardin can help you to end the discomfort of sensitive teeth and help you have a happier mouth. Contact us today and schedule a consultation at Hardin Advanced Dentistry.