Do you avoid ice cream with your family due to sensitive teeth? Does your morning cup of coffee cause disruptive tooth pain? Teeth sensitivity is a common dental problem, but one that should never be ignored. The truth is, anytime your teeth produce pain, they are trying to signal to your brain that something isn’t quite right. While not all sensitive teeth can be traced back to a harmful dental issue, it still needs to be properly evaluated by your dentist. Everyone deserves a comfortable smile – and one that doesn’t wince at the thought of ice cream!
When a tooth or multiple teeth become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, it is usually an indication that the outer tooth layer is damaged. This hard layer of your tooth is called enamel, and it protects your inner layers (dentin and cementum) from external components. The dentin of your teeth is a soft layer that connects to the tooth pulp, where your delicate tooth nerves reside. Therefore, when tooth enamel gets damaged, wears thin or is otherwise compromised, the sensitive dentin layer is more readily exposed.
What can cause sensitive teeth?
There are many reasons why patients suffer enamel loss, and consequently experience sensitivity. Some patients suffer from a sudden tooth injury that causes the enamel to crack or chip. Others may notice a gradual onset of sensitivity when their enamel wears thin or erodes. This can occur from consuming highly acidic foods and drinks as well as from a teeth grinding habit. There are other times in which the gums recede, either due to the natural aging process or gum disease. When the tooth roots are more exposed, sensitivity is likely to occur.
While there are factors you can and can’t control when it comes to teeth sensitivity, there is always something your dentist can do. If gum disease or teeth grinding is the culprit, we may suggest periodontal therapy or wearing a nightguard when you sleep. In other cases, you may find relief as you limit your consumption of sodas and other acidic drinks. There are also several toothpastes that can strengthen your enamel and help reduce your discomfort.
Call Grateful Dental today and let us discuss your options towards a more comfortable smile!