Tooth sensitivity is a common problem, and one that cannot be ignored. If a drink of hot coffee or a mouthful of ice cream causes a sharp pain in one or more of your teeth, then you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can be caused by many things, but usually manifests as a pain in your teeth when you eat or drink something hot, cold, sweet, or sour. Sometimes even a breath of cold air can be enough to make sensitive teeth ache.
So what’s the cause? Tooth sensitivity happens when something causes the surface beneath the enamel of your teeth—called the dentin—to be exposed. The dentin is the inner part of your tooth, made up of thousands of tiny tubes which lead to the tooth’s nerve center, called the pulp. If the dentin is exposed, then the triggering substance—be it heat or cold or sweet or sour—can travel through these tubes to the nerves in your tooth, which causes the pain.
Anything that wears away at the enamel of your tooth or causes your gums to pull back, exposing the dentin, can lead to tooth sensitivity, but tooth sensitivity is pretty much always a warning sign that something is wrong. Whether it’s wear and tear, gum disease, tooth decay, chipped teeth, grinding or clenching that has damaged enamel, too much acidic food, certain teeth-whitening agents which can wear away enamel, plaque buildup, or anything else that exposes the dentin, if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, that means it’s time for a trip to your Overland Park family dentist.
Your dentist can help determine the root cause of your tooth sensitivity and give you options for relief. Most causes of tooth sensitivity can be combated using the same methods that are prescribed for good oral health generally: daily brushing and flossing, a good diet, and regular visits to your friendly Overland Park dentist. Depending on the causes of your sensitivity, your dentist may also recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush, wearing a mouth guard while you sleep to prevent grinding, or specific focused treatments that can help with discomfort caused by sensitive teeth such as bonding to cover exposed dentin, fluoride varnishes, and dentin sealers. There is also special toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth.
Whatever the cause of your tooth sensitivity, the good news is that there is a solution, but it’s important to visit your Overland Park dentist right away! Tooth sensitivity is often a warning sign of bigger problems on the way, and the sooner you seek treatment, the better off you’ll be, not to mention finding relief from the pain and discomfort caused by your sensitive teeth sooner. So if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity in one or more teeth, visit Watts Family Dental today!
This article brought to you by Watts Family Dental in Overland Park, Kansas. Our friendly office specializes in preventative dental care for the whole family. To make an appointment, please call (913) 338-3384 or click here to fill out our online contact form.