Why are my teeth so sensitive?

Tooth-Sensitivity-2If you suffer from sensitive teeth, you’re not alone: tooth sensitivity is one of the most common dental complaints we hear from our patients. Maybe your teeth hurt when you drink cold water, eat hot foods, or even just when you take a deep breath and the air hits them. Whatever the cause of your sensitive teeth, it’s likely we can recommend a treatment and care plan that will lessen or eliminate the sensitivity.

First, it may be helpful to understand the basic structure of your teeth. You probably know that a strong layer of enamel is what protects your teeth’s surface. Underneath the enamel is another layer called cementum, and under that is a layer called dentin. Dentin is made up of many tiny tubes, and if you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, it means the protective covering of your teeth has been compromised and these tubes are allowing sensations to travel to the nerves in your teeth.

Some potential causes of enamel breakdown are tooth decay, a cracked tooth, worn fillings, improper oral hygiene, and gingivitis, or early gum disease. It could also be that you have a cavity that needs to be treated, or maybe you’re experiencing a reaction to at­ home bleaching or whitening products. Because there are so many different causes and it’s important to directly treat the cause of your issue, you should schedule a visit with your dentist before starting any self ­treatments.

One of our dentists at Chauvin Dental will be able to examine your teeth, diagnose your problem, and then recommend an appropriate plan of treatment. Depending on what’s causing your sensitive teeth, the dentist may recommend at­ home or in ­office topical treatments or a procedure like a filling or crown. In more serious cases, you may require surgery like a root canal or gum graft.

It’s possible to prevent or limit tooth sensitivity by using these tips:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene. Floss and brush twice a day; brush your teeth in a gentle, circular motion.
  • Use a soft­ bristled toothbrush.
  • Limit acidic foods and drinks (examples: soda, oranges). If you’re going to drink them, use a straw to limit the exposure to your teeth and drink water after to re­balance. Don’t brush your teeth directly after consuming acidic foods or beverages, as this can contribute to enamel breakdown.
  • Use a desensitizing toothpaste as part of your oral regimen.
  • If you grind your teeth, get a mouth guard to protect teeth from unnecessary wear and tear.

These are available over ­the ­counter, or visit us to be professionally fit for one.

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