What Does It Mean When You Have Sensitive Teeth?

Posted on: June 16, 2018

If someone talks about sensitive teeth, most people assume it means the teeth hurt when eating or drinking. Tooth sensitivity is another way of stating the dentin or root of the tooth is highly sensitive. In general, those who have sensations or pain when consuming things that are hot, cold, acidic or sweet tend to have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is more common than most think. However, what is most interesting about tooth sensitivity is it has the potential to come and go as time progresses. If you alter your habits, you may just find that your tooth sensitivity diminishes in due time.

The Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth many times are caused when dentin along the root area of the tooth becomes exposed during gum recession. Periodontal disease can also cause the root areas to become exposed and cause subsequent tooth sensitivity. Unfortunately, receding gums are quite common. The majority of people have gum recession by the age of 65. Once a tooth root is exposed, it will not have an enamel layer like the crowns of teeth. Instead, the roots will have a soft covering known as cementum. When cementum is eroded, it leaves the sensitive dentin portion of the tooth root vulnerable.

If you brush too aggressively or use an abrasive toothpaste, the tooth enamel will suffer abrasion to the point that the dentin can be exposed. Anything from a diet loaded with acidic foods and beverages to GERD, bulimia and a host of other issues can spur dental erosion. This erosion ultimately leads to heightened tooth sensitivity as a result of acid within the mouth.

In some cases, dental sensitivity occurs following dental treatments or procedures. As an example, if you have recently had a tooth restored, a cleaning, a crown added or another type of dental procedure, your teeth might be sensitive. Thankfully, this sensitivity is temporary.

Additional Factors That Cause Sensitive Teeth

It is interesting to note some patients who have their teeth whitened experience sensitive teeth. Teeth whitening products with baking soda or peroxide have the potential to irritate exposed tooth dentin or roots. Gum disease causes tooth decay that breaks apart enamel. Gum disease can also be the cause of an infection that compromises the roots of a tooth or even causes gum line recession and sensitive teeth.

Even teeth grinding or clenching has the potential to gradually erode tooth enamel and expose the dentin, making the teeth that much more sensitive. In some cases, there is a chip or crack in the tooth that exposes the dentin below. These spaces can also fill up with the bacteria from plaque above and lead to nerve inflammation.

Reduce Teeth Sensitivity

You have the power to at least slightly reduce the sensitivity of your teeth. Use a desensitizing toothpaste that has chemicals that block hot or cold sensations from reaching teeth nerves. Transition to a fluoridated mouthwash to bolster tooth strength. Finally, incorporate a toothbrush with soft bristles that proves gentler on your pearly whites and your gums.

Need help and guidance on finding what option is best for you? Contact our office today.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with A+ Dentistry, request an appointment in our Canton dental office here: https://aplus-dentistry.com. Or call us at (734) 495-9468.


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