What Causes Teeth to be Sensitive?

What Causes Teeth to be Sensitive?

Team General Dentistry

Experiencing teeth sensitivity and pain when it comes to hot and cold temperatures, foods, and beverages can be quite alarming – especially when it comes out of nowhere. Know this – if you are someone who deals with this regularly, you are not alone. 

Everyone encounters some slight sensitivity every now and then. But, if you have had to give up drinking a cup of hot coffee or eating a popsicle in the middle of summer, then it could be time to get your teeth examined by your dentist. 

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

There are different layers within a tooth and dentin is the second layer that is directly protected by the outer enamel layer. Dentin has tiny tubules that connect to the pulp area – the area with their nerves, roots, and other soft tissues. So, as the enamel becomes worn or disruptive, it can expose the dentin and its tubules, And since they reach where the nerve is located, you will find they react. 

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by quite a few different dental issues, including:

  • Worn fillings
  • Tooth decay
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • A cracked tooth

Of course, exposed roots from either brushing too hard, excessive over-the-counter teeth whitening, eating/drinking too many acidic foods, or from a periodontal disease that has caused gums to recede may also play a role in tooth sensitivity. 

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be very disruptive in daily life. To help protect yourself from dealing with it now – and in the future – there are steps that you can take to reduce your chances of setting sensitive teeth. These steps include: 

Brushing gently. There are no guidelines or rules that say you have to brush with force and with a hard toothbrush, yet some feel it is the only way to get teeth clean. Unfortunately, aggressive brushing can actually damage your teeth and the surrounding gums. Instead, get yourself a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently and thoroughly twice per day. And while you are at it, don’t forget to floss, too. 

Desensitizing toothpaste. Using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth may help to block pain. There are many different types available in the toothpaste aisle. Or, you can talk to your dentist about the best choice for you. 

Use fluoride. Having fluoride treatments will help to strengthen your tooth’s enamel. This may help to reduce the sensitivity. You may want to consider professional fluoride treatments or a mouthwash with fluoride. 

Dental treatment. If these steps don’t seem to help relieve the sensitivity, there are a few things that your dentist may be able to offer. For instance, applying bonding to areas of extreme sensitivity may help. Areas with lost gum tissue can cause sensitivity and taking gum tissue from another area and attaching it to the sensitive area can bring relief. Finally, a root canal is a successful treatment for tooth sensitivity. Keep in mind that these dental procedures are only beneficial when the sensitivity is stemming from one tooth. 

It’s Time to Address Your Tooth Sensitivity 

If you have been dealing with tooth sensitivity and you are ready to find relief once and for all, Kevin G. Jones, DDS can help. A thorough examination of your teeth and gums can help pinpoint the reason for the sensitivity – so that treatment options can be discussed. 

Contact us today at 501-225-4555 to get started. Or, request an appointment online.