Tooth Sensitivity is a condition where you suffer from pain or discomfort from food, drink, or even the air. Often, this condition triggers as a response to stimuli, such as temperature, sweetness, acidity, and more. It can also occur while breathing in cold air or brushing your teeth. If you notice a pain in your tooth when eating candy or drinking a cold drink, you might have tooth sensitivity.
What Does Tooth Sensitivity Feel Like?
Generally, tooth sensitivity can range from mild discomfort to severe nerve pain. The pain usually occurs while eating or drinking and subsides shortly after. The pain or discomfort may not be the same each time it triggers.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
There are a number of potential causes of sensitive teeth. Below, we will address the most common causes.
When the gums recess, the tissue pulls away from the teeth. This leads to root exposure. Exposed roots can be the cause of your sensitivity. Some people are genetically predisposed to gum recession. However, it can also be caused by periodontal disease.
Brushing Too Hard
Brushing too hard can lead to wear on the enamel. It can also lead to gum recession as you can hurt your gums by brushing too roughly. Look for soft-bristled toothbrushes. If using an electric brush, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and don’t press the brush too hard against your teeth.
Acidic Food and Drink
Regular consumption of acidic food or drink can lead to enamel erosion. Soda, citrus, tomatoes, pickles, and more can contribute.
Gum Disease and Tooth Sensitivity
Gum disease leads to soreness and inflammation in the gums. It can also lead to gum recession and root exposure.
Plaque buildup on the teeth can lead to sensitive teeth. While on your teeth, plaque eats away at the enamel and exposes the tooth layers below. Bacterial growth from plaque can affect the inner tooth and cause sensitivity.
Broken or Cracked Teeth
Cracks, chips, or breaks in teeth can expose sensitive nerves. Additionally, bacteria from plaque buildup can affect these cracks, causing tooth sensitivity.
Grinding Your Teeth Can Cause Tooth Sensitivity
If you grind your teeth, you may develop tooth sensitivity. Grinding can wear down the enamel of your teeth, leading to dentin exposure. Dentin is more sensitive to stimuli than enamel.
Some tooth-whitening products can contribute to sensitive teeth. Talk to your dentist about safer ways to whiten your teeth.
Dentist’s Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity
There are many ways to treat your tooth sensitivity. Overall, you should consult your dentist for the best results. They can help you determine the best course of action. Fluoride treatments strengthen enamel and reduce sensitivity and pain. Your dentist may use a bonding treatment to reduce root exposure. In more extreme cases, a surgical gum graft or root canal may be warranted.
Your dentist can provide you with at-home care instructions. They may also prescribe you dental care products to reduce sensitivity.
Managing Tooth Sensitivity at Home
While your dentist can help you combat your sensitive teeth, there are ways to reduce these symptoms. Maintaining good oral hygiene is an excellent place to start. Be mindful of your diet and food intake. Flouride can help restore tooth strength and minimize sensitivity. Fluoridated mouth rinses can be helpful here. Desensitizing toothpaste can also offer some relief. A mouth guard can help limit tooth grinding at night.
A Center for Dental Excellence does not provide medical or healthcare advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
A Center for Dental Excellence provides expert dental care to the Brooklyn and Staten Island communities we serve. To schedule an appointment or consultation, contact us or call the office you would like to visit. (718) 232-8289 for Brooklyn, and (718) 980-9555 for Staten Island.