Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

If a sip of hot cocoa or a taste of ice cream makes you wince, then you may suffer from tooth sensitivity. This is the common term for dentin hypersensitivity, and it involves teeth that are sensitive to hot, cold, acidic or sweet foods and drinks. Dentin hypersensitivity is common as more than 50 percent of people in the United States suffer from it.

Common causes of tooth sensitivity

There are several causes of tooth sensivity, with the following being the most common.

Brushing too hard

One of the leading causes of tooth sensitivity is brushing the teeth with too much pressure. While it is important to keep teeth clean, using a hard-bristle toothbrush and brushing with too much force can wear down a person's teeth enamel in time. When a person damages teeth enamel, microscopic tube canals that lead to the nerves inside the teeth become exposed. When these dental nerves come into contact with any cold, hot or acidic foods, the person can experience pain or discomfort.

Teeth grinding

Grinding teeth is another primary cause of enamel erosion. Enamel is very strong, but it can wear down when a person constantly grinds his or her teeth. Teeth grinding exposes the person's dentin, which contains hollow tubes that lead to the dental nerves. If the person grinds his or her teeth while sleeping, he or she should talk to a dentist about getting a night guard.

Overbleaching teeth

Everyone wants to have pearly white teeth, but over-bleaching and using tooth-whitening toothpaste excessively can cause teeth to become more sensitive. The chemicals found in bleaching and teeth-whitening toothpaste can make a person's teeth more sensitive to hot, cold and acidic foods.

Gum disease

Gum disease and receding gums are common, and they can cause dentin hypersensitivity. These conditions expose the root of a person's tooth, which does not have a layer of enamel like the crown of a tooth. Instead, the roots have a soft covering known as cementum. When the soft layer goes away, this exposes the dentin of the tooth, resulting in sensitivity.

Accumulation of plaque

Plaque forms on the surface of a person's teeth after eating. When a person fails to practice good oral hygiene, the plaque builds upon their teeth, causing the enamel to wear away. Once the teeth no longer have the protection provided by enamel, they become more sensitive to certain foods.

Chipped or cracked teeth

If a person's teeth have cracks or chips in them, they become more sensitive. In such cases, the pain can be more severe. If plaque forms on the crack, bacteria can accumulate in the area, leading to inflammation and infection of the pulp. The person may have to visit a dentist who will examine the tooth and determine the proper course of action.

Worn fillings

Worn fillings are another common cause of tooth sensitivity. As time goes by, fillings can become weak and fracture or even leak around the edges. It is easy for bacteria to accumulate in the tiny holes, resulting in a buildup of acids and the breakdown of enamel.

Wrapping up

Fortunately, tooth sensitivity is treatable. Your dentist can recommend desensitizing toothpaste or fluoride gel to reduce dentin hypersensitivity. A dentist can also fix tooth flaws that cause sensitivity using bonding and crowns. In severe cases, the oral professional may perform a root canal. If you are dealing with sensitive teeth, talk to your dentist and explore treatment options for more comfort and less pain.

Make an appointment today

Call (941) 893-4240 today to reach Dragonfly Dental of Port Charlotte.

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