Picture the following scene: You’re enjoying your favorite hot or cold beverage, and all of a sudden you feel a sharp pain running through one or more of your teeth.
Have you ever had that experience? If so, you’re not alone. Thousands of Americans suffer from tooth sensitivity — discomfort or pain in the teeth, often felt in response to a change in temperature or pressure.
What causes tooth sensitivity? And what can you do about it?
Tooth Sensitivity Causes
Inside your tooth you’ll find a bony material called dentin. Dentin is hard tissue that is not typically visible, as it’s covered both by enamel (the hard part of the tooth that appears on the outside) and cementum (softer tissue under the gumline that covers the roots). Essentially, it’s the tooth’s second layer, moving from the outside to the inside. Your dentin contains a large number of tiny pores that transmit sudden changes in temperature or pressure to the nerves inside the tooth .
Dentin becomes exposed for various reasons:
- genetic predisposition,
- excessive brushing,
- periodontal disease,
- receding gums that reveal part of the tooth’s root surfaces,
- extensive dental work or procedures,
- tooth decay.
In addition, drinking a lot of sodas, sports or energy drinks can contribute to erosion of tooth surfaces, exposing the dentin.
What to Do About Tooth Sensitivity
If you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, you should make an appointment with the Marconi Dental Group and we can help identify the causes and find solutions. Additionally, here are some general tips that hopefully can help:
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and make sure that you are not brushing too long or hard. Also, be sure to use a fluoride-containing toothpaste, as this mineral helps strengthen your tooth’s enamel, protecting the sensitive dentin. Some patients find that toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth helps with the problem.
It’s best to avoid drinking sodas, sports, and energy drinks, as all these contribute to the erosion of tooth surfaces. But if you do drink these, be careful not to brush your teeth right away. Since the acids soften the outer surfaces of the teeth, brushing too soon after drinking can actually contribute to tooth erosion. Instead, wait 30 minutes to an hour later, as this will give your saliva the opportunity to neutralize the acids in your mouth. It’s also a good practice to rinse your mouth with water before brushing your teeth.
Don’t continue living with tooth pain or sensitivity — do something about it! By making an appointment with the Marconi Dental Group, we’ll examine your teeth and identify the problem, so we can prescribe the best possible treatment.