Sensitive Teeth: Causes & Treatment

Afro-American man having dental ache, reaction on hot coffee, sensitive teeth

What does it mean to have sensitive teeth? If your teeth are sensitive, you know all too well. That sharp pain you feel when you drink something hot or cold or bite into something sugary is a highly unpleasant sensation. And the pain doesn’t always subside when you stop eating or drinking. It can remain as a dull ache for seconds or even minutes afterwards. 

Having sensitive teeth can be inconvenient, but there are some solutions to this common problem. It helps to know the causes of sensitive teeth in order to understand the treatments. 

Causes of Sensitive Teeth 

Your teeth become sensitive when the enamel erodes and weakens, exposing pores that lead to the nerves inside the teeth. This can happen from a variety of causes:

  • Acidic food and drink. Many foods and drinks contain acids that erode the enamel on your teeth. Coffee, soft drinks, sports drinks, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and many other things are highly acidic. Consider rinsing your mouth or brushing after consuming acidic foods or drinks.
  • Teeth grinding. Grinding and clenching wears down the enamel over time, causing your teeth to be sensitive. Wearing a mouthguard at night can reduce the negative effects of teeth grinding. 
  • Cavities. If you have a cavity that has not been treated, that tooth may be more sensitive to cold, heat, and sweets. A cavity is a hole in the enamel of your tooth that can expose the inner pulp that contains the nerves. 
  • Receding gums. Gum tissue can wear away from the teeth or pull away due to gum disease, exposing the roots of the teeth. The exposed roots are more sensitive than your teeth because they are not protected by enamel. 
  • Brushing too much. Although dentists encourage you to brush your teeth, you can actually brush too much. Twice a day is usually enough. Too frequent brushing can wear away the enamel on your teeth and cause them to become sensitive. 
  • Using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush. A brush with hard bristles can wear away tooth enamel and gum tissue. 
  • Cracked or chipped teeth. If a tooth is cracked or has a chip it can be sensitive. 

 

Helpful Treatments

The best course of treatment for sensitive teeth depends on the cause of the sensitivity. Any one or a combination of these treatments may help: 

  • Toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Mild tooth sensitivity may be relieved by sensitive teeth toothpaste. 
  • Fluoride treatments. Your dentist can apply a fluoride treatment to your teeth that helps fortify the enamel to relieve sensitivity. 
  • Cavity filling. If one or more cavities are the source of the sensitivity, filling those cavities may solve the problem. 
  • Root canal. A deep cavity that extends into the root of the tooth may need a root canal. This process involves removing the inner pulp of the tooth, including the nerves, which will stop the sensitivity. 
  • Composite bonding. If your teeth are sensitive due to worn down enamel, composite bonding can add a layer of protection to them that fills the pores in your teeth. 
  • Gum graft. Exposed roots can be recovered with gum grafting. This procedure involves taking soft tissue from another part of the mouth and applying it to the exposed roots. 

 

Curb Sensitivity With the Help of Creekview Dental

Tooth sensitivity is not a problem you should ignore. If you experience frequent sensitivity and especially if the pain resonates after the source is removed, you should make an appointment with your dentist. Mild sensitivity may mean that your enamel is weakening, making your teeth more susceptible to decay. Severe sensitivity could mean you have a deep cavity that needs to be filled or restored with a root canal. Receding gums could be a sign of gum disease that needs to be treated. 

Many of the causes of sensitive teeth can be prevented with regular check ups at Creekview Dental. Routine cleanings and exams every 6 months encourage better oral health. 

Call 651-738-8204 or contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to providing you with relief from your sensitive teeth.