Are you noticing shooting pain in your teeth every time you drink or eat something hot or cold? Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem that affects approximately 1 in 3 people. There are different levels of sensitivity, from a slight discomfort eating ice cream to severe pain that is triggered from simply walking into the cold air. What exactly is going on inside those sensitive teeth? Most of the time, a tooth becomes sensitive when the dentin layer of the tooth is exposed. This happens when your outer layer of enamel has worn thin. Whenever you have dentin layer that is exposed, there is easy access to nerve branches, which is where we feel pain in the tooth.
Your dentist can best determine where your tooth sensitivity is coming from in order to recommend the most effective treatment. The most common causes for tooth sensitivity include:
- Long-term tooth wear
- Aggressive or too hard brushing
- Untreated tooth decay
- Tarter build up along gum line due to poor oral hygiene
- A cracked or leaking tooth filling
- Frequent consumption of acidic food and drink
- Receding gums that expose tooth root
In most cases of tooth sensitivity, your dentist will suggest things you can do at home to reverse your tooth sensitivity such as avoiding certain foods or beverages or using a certain toothpaste. Sensodyne is an example of a toothpaste that can work by actually forming a protective layer on top of the exposed dentin layer so your tooth enamel can repair itself. It is important that you let your dentist first diagnose your sensitivity before you start self-treating. Gum disease, cavities, a cracked filling and even receding gums will demand professional treatment. The good news is that you do not have to endure the discomfort and pain of sensitive teeth. Park South Dentistry can help patients regain confidence in eating those cool treats as the weather gets warmer.