Tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, is a common dental issue that affects around 11.5% of the population. It is characterized by a sharp, sudden pain when your teeth are exposed to cold, hot, sweet, or acidic substances. Understanding and managing tooth sensitivity can protect your smile.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity often results from tooth enamel erosion, exposing the dentin beneath it. Dentin contains tiny tubes that lead to the tooth’s nerve center in the pulp chamber, transmitting painful sensations. Other causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Tooth decay: Cavities and decay can expose the inner layers of your teeth, leading to sensitivity.
  • Gum recession: As gums recede, they expose the tooth’s root surfaces, which are not protected by enamel.
  • Fractured teeth: Cracks in teeth can expose the dentin, leading to sensitivity.
  • Worn fillings: Old or worn-out fillings may not provide adequate protection to the tooth.
  • Damaged crowns or veneers: If the adhesive in crowns or veneers weakens or the prosthetic gets damaged, it can expose the underlying dentin to bacteria, food, and drinks.
  • Tooth grinding: Chronic grinding can wear down enamel, making teeth more sensitive.
  • Overbrushing: Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or applying too much force can erode enamel and lead to gum recession.

Effective Management Strategies

Navigating tooth sensitivity requires a combination of preventive measures and targeted treatments. Some strategies to help you effectively manage this common dental concern include:

  • Use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth: Desensitizing toothpaste contains compounds like potassium nitrate that help block pain signals by numbing the nerves or strontium chloride, which seals the dentin tubules.
  • Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush: A soft toothbrush reduces the pressure and friction on the teeth and gums, helping prevent further enamel erosion and gum recession.
  • Avoid acidic foods and drinks: Minimizing exposure to acidic substances can reduce enamel erosion.
  • Wear a mouthguard: If you grind your teeth, consider wearing a mouthguard at night. This will absorb the excess pressure when clenching your jaw or grinding and act as a protective barrier for your enamel.

Visit Your Dentist for Professional Help

If tooth sensitivity is severely affecting your life, seek professional help. A dentist can thoroughly examine and diagnose the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment options to alleviate sensitivity-related pain and discomfort. Some dental procedures that can address tooth sensitivity include:

  • Dental bonding: For sensitivity due to exposed root surfaces, dental bonding can provide relief. This procedure involves applying a tooth-colored resin to the affected area, offering protection and reducing sensitivity.
  • Fluoride gel or varnish: A dentist can apply fluoride gel or varnish to the sensitive areas. This professional-strength fluoride treatment helps strengthen tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations to the nerves.
  • Dental sealants: If sensitivity results from exposed dentin, your dentist might apply dental sealants. This thin, protective coating covers the exposed dentin on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, providing relief.
  • Root canal treatment: A root canal might be necessary for severe or persistent sensitivity that doesn’t respond to other treatments. This procedure removes necrotic tissue and nerves, effectively alleviating pain and sensitivity.

Unlock a Comfortable and Sensitivity-Free Smile

Managing tooth sensitivity can improve your quality of life. Schedule a consultation with A Dental Place so our professional staff can help determine the best treatment option for your tooth sensitivity.