Do you pass on hot drinks or cold treats because they cause your teeth to ache? According to the Academy of General Dentistry nearly 45 million Americans experience tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity is a discomforting sensation in one or more teeth and can be triggered by hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks, or even breathing cold air. The discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity can range from an irritation of the tooth to sharp, sudden, and severe shooting pain that is felt deep inside the tooth.
Sensitivity of the teeth is often the result of worn enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) leaving the dentin (the inner layer of the tooth) exposed. Enamel is the hard outer coating of the tooth that protects and insulates it. If enamel is lost due to wear, chipping, or improper brushing, the more porous and sensitive dentin is exposed, causing varying degrees of sensitivity. Naturally, over time the enamel on your teeth wears down leaving the more sensitive and porous inner layer exposed.
Factors other than age, often factors that are controllable, can cause enamel to wear down more quickly and result in sensitive teeth. Some of the factors contributing to wearing of enamel and tooth sensitivity include: ingesting acidic liquids (soda, diet soda, juice, some teas) on a regular basis, grinding your teeth, hard teeth brushing (using a toothbrush with overly firm bristles).
Large cavities along with, cracked teeth, severe gum recession, gum disease, clenching or grinding can all cause sensitive teeth. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please consult with one of our dentists to rule out these more serious causes that are best fixed or diagnosed early. If none of the above causes are responsible for sensitivity then using desensitizing toothpaste is a simple way to help the situation in most cases. If that doesn’t help having a professional fluoride treatment done at our office can help.