When you have sensitive teeth, eating or drinking anything that’s not at room temperature can cause pain. You might even feel a throbbing sensation when a cold wind blows against your mouth. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem with many possible causes. Before delving into them, it’s important to understand the structure of the tooth.
Tooth Structure and Dental Hypersensitivity
The inside of each of your teeth contains a material called dentin. The dentin has tiny tubules and nerve endings. Each tooth also has a hard-outer layer of enamel that protects the dentin located inside of the top portion of the tooth. We also refer to this part of the tooth as the crown. A layer of cementum protects the dentin that reaches down into the root portion of each of your teeth. The pain of tooth sensitivity occurs when the protective coating of cementum or enamel wears away from the dentin. Acidic, sticky, cold, or hot foods and beverages are common triggers for pain.
Most Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth
While the loss of dentin is a typical reason for tooth sensitivity, it can happen for several other reasons as well. These include:
- Grinding your teeth while sleeping
- Temporary tooth sensitivity following a dental procedure such as a crown or filling
- Frequent consumption of highly acidic beverages and food
- Brushing your teeth too aggressively
- Using a hard toothbrush
- Tooth decay, worn teeth, and leaking tooth fillings
- Recession of gums that leaves the roots of your teeth exposed
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity and can’t identify the cause, be sure to schedule an appointment with Comeaux Dental Group. One of our dentists will inspect your teeth and gums to determine the problem. It’s possible you will need a dental procedure such as a root canal or crown to eliminate the sensitivity. However, making some simple changes in your daily routine is often enough to help your teeth feel better.
Switch to a Toothpaste Made for Sensitive Teeth and Change How You Brush
One of the easiest ways to overcome this problem is to buy a toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth. This type of toothpaste contains potassium nitrate, an ingredient that can help to reduce tooth pain by blocking the tubules in the dentin of your teeth. It’s important to continue to use the new toothpaste if you don’t see results right away. Additionally, continuing to use it once your teeth no longer feel sensitive is the best way to prevent a future recurrence.
Using a toothbrush with hard bristles will only increase your issues with sensitive teeth. We recommend switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush immediately and then making sure that you brush your teeth for a full two minutes each time. Brushing your teeth too aggressively or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear away the protective enamel of your teeth and expose them to sensitivity. If you already have gum recession, this type of brushing wears away at the cementum as well.
Reduce or Eliminate Acidic Foods and Drinks
Soda, certain fruit juices, red wine, pickles, and oranges are all highly acidic and can damage the enamel of your teeth. If you do consume one of these foods or beverages, try to brush your teeth within about 20 minutes. You should not brush sooner than that as it can cause additional damage to your tooth enamel. A proactive approach is always best since the loss of tooth enamel is permanent.
Visit Us for Treatment
Comeaux Dental Group is happy to help you find a solution to the problem of tooth sensitivity. For example, you could benefit from wearing a mouth guard at night if you grind your teeth. Other possible treatments include a paint-on fluoride and starting treatment for gum disease. We don’t want to see anyone live with dental pain when there’s often a simple solution.
If you have any questions for us or if you’d like to schedule an appointment with any of our three dentists, please contact our office. Thank you for your confidence in our practice and for allowing us to provide your dental care.