Each tooth has nerve endings and roots buried deep below the enamel and dentin layers of our teeth. These nerves, when triggered, can create pain and sensitivity ranging from mild tooth discomfort all the way through severe and persistent pain.
Read below for our breakdown on what causes sensitivity and what to do if you are suffering.
What Causes Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the demineralization of the outer layer of the tooth, called enamel. This demineralization causes the inner layers of the tooth to be more exposed to irritants such as hot or cold temperatures, acidic foods, and sugary foods.
Demineralization occurs for many reasons, most of which can be traced back to inappropriate dental practices. These include:
- Using too much force when brushing
Even though our teeth have a hard exterior, through incorrect brushing habits we can wear down this outer protective layer. Using a hard bristle toothbrush and too much force can not only deteriorate our enamel, it can also create problems with receding gum lines later on.
- Gum Recession
Related to poor oral health or overly vigorous brushing, receding gum line is when the soft gum tissue pulls back from the bottom of the teeth. As the gums recede further, the roots of the teeth become exposed. As these are less protected by enamel, they will not only be more sensitive when exposed, but also be more prone to damage and decay.
- Cracks, Clenching, and Grinding
According to the Sleep Foundation, 8% of adults grind their teeth at night. Grinding behaviors, in addition to clenching, can further weaken and damage the enamel of the tooth. This increases your risk for cracks and overall tooth weakness, making sensitivity an inevitable side effect.
- Using bleaching and whitening products
Whether in-office or at-home, tooth whitening products have one thing in common: they generally rely on strippin the outer layer of the tooth to reduce the appearance of stains. Just like a scrape causes skin sensitivity, whitening can be irritating to many individuals in the days and weeks following treatment.
Even if your oral hygiene is in top condition, eating sugary and acidic foods will naturally corrode the enamel over time. This can cause sensitivity and even tooth decay, especially if good brushing habits are not in place.
For individuals who show one of more of these risk factors for tooth sensitivity, they may be wondering what their treatment options are and how to get the best dental care for their concerns.
While it’s always wise to speak with your dentist about what is best for your condition, we have outlined some common and successful treatment methods below.
Treating sensitivity is almost never about pain management alone. Normally, your dentist will want to perform an evaluation for determining the root case of your hypersensitivity. From there, your dentist will provide feedback on possible treatments that might help.
For those with sensitivity caused by underlying dental problems, you must choose the correct treatment for your ailment. For those with tooth decay, this could include treatment measures ranging from routine cavity fillings all the way up through root canals and dental extractions. If the decay is more widespread, there may even be the need to utilize bridges, implants, or partial dentures to fully treat the mouth.
For those with sensitivity not caused by an underlying dental problem, solutions are often simpler and focus on remineralizing the teeth and managing the current sensitivity. Dentists do this through providing fluoride gel treatments to help strengthen the outer layers of the teeth in addition to recommended options for desensitizing toothpaste while brushing your teeth.
Visible Signs of Sensitivity
Like tooth pain, tooth sensitivity in and of itself is not a dental condition rather, it is a symptom of other dental pathologies ranging from tooth decay to gum disease. As such, many individuals experience tooth sensitivity without any visible signs of a problem.
If your sensitivity persists, it’s always recommended to schedule an appointment with your dentist. After an exam, your dentist may recommend a course of action to manage your sensitivity or catch an issue that requires more extensive dental procedures such as root canals, crowns, or extractions.
Trusted Mesa Dentists
Established in the 1980s, EVDP takes great pride in having clients receive the best dental care and the best service. If you are considering dental implant, contact EVDP to schedule an appointment or consultation.
While we like to be a source of information for anyone researching on the internet, East Valley Dental Practice has its actual home in Mesa, Arizona. Established in the 1980s, we take great pride in having local clients who receive the best dental care and the best service.
If you are in Arizona, don’t hesitate to give us a call at: 480-838-3033 so you can speak to a professional who can help answer your questions or set up an appointment to get a consultation. We are only one call away from a healthier smile.