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Why So Sensitive? Learn the Most Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

October 15, 2018

Why So Sensitive? Learn the Most Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Have you noticed that when you take a sip of a hot beverage, your teeth hurt? Do you get pain in your teeth when you eat ice cream or other very cold things? If you answered yes to either of these issues then it is likely you have sensitive teeth – and you are not alone. More than 40 million people in this country have tooth sensitivity.

The science behind tooth sensitivity

Your teeth have layers to them. When your teeth are healthy, you will have a layer of enamel protecting the crown of each tooth. This is the part right above the gums. The layer that is just under the gums is the cementum and its job is to protect the root of your tooth. Under the enamel and the cementum is dentin.

Due in part to its location within the tooth, dentin is not as strong as the other layers of your tooth. It also has tiny hollow canals and tubes in it, which makes it even more fragile. When a person has enamel and / or cementum wearing away, the dentin can be exposed. As a result, anything that is hot or cold – or even something acidic – can get into the hollow tubes or canals and touch nerves inside the teeth.

Common causes of tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of things. If it comes on gradually then it may be the result of a cavity, tooth decay, a worn filling, worn tooth enamel, or an exposed root of the tooth. If it comes on quickly and is very strong then it may be the result of a fractured tooth. It is also a common sign of gum disease.

Treatments for tooth sensitivity

The bad news is that there isn’t a single, absolute cure for sensitive teeth. The good news is that there are a number of things that can help improve tooth sensitivity. We recommend visiting your dentist as soon as possible once you start to notice that your teeth are sensitive.

You can also try toothpaste that is made specifically for sensitive teeth. It is designed to fill the exposed tubes and canals within the dentin, which can reduce or rid a person of sensitive teeth as long as they continue to use the toothpaste. Using sodium fluoride gel can also help to make the teeth stronger and is especially helpful for those who are sensitive to acidic foods.

Many people have sensitive teeth because they grind their teeth at night. If this is your situation then you should wear a nightguard at night. These are small, soft, plastic devices that are made to fit your teeth. They are easy to get used to for most patients and can prevent consequences from tooth grinding.

If you have noticed that your teeth have become more sensitive then we strongly recommend contacting California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 to make an appointment with a local dentist.

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