Do you feel a sharp pain in your mouth whenever you eat ice cream or a hot cup of soup? Do your teeth sting every time you brush your teeth? If so, you may be one in the 40 million Americans that suffers from teeth sensitivity.
What causes teeth sensitivity?
In most cases, a healthy tooth has a protective shield—a layer of enamel that covers the crown and a layer of cementum that conceals beneath the gum line. Under both of these coverings is a layer of dentin, which is less substantial and even has microscopic canals that permit access to the roots. Should the outer protective walls of our teeth wear down, this exposed dentin allows heat, cold, and food direct access to the nerve inside, causing hypersensitivity.
So why do these protective layers wear down? There are quite a few reasons you may be experiencing sensitivity:
- Eating too many acidic foods and beverages
- Brushing your teeth too harshly
- Using at-home whitening products
- Tooth decay
- Cracked teeth
- Receding gum line (this often happens with those experiencing periodontal disease)
- Gingivitis (which can cause inflamed or sore gum tissue, resulting in an exposed root)
- A worn filling
- Grinding your teeth in your sleep
- Long-term use of mouthwash (some mouthwashes contain acids that can damage the dentin layer)
- Dental procedures (If your teeth are sensitive after a professional cleaning, root planing, or crown replacement, you can expect the pain to disappear after four to six weeks. If it persists further, contact Aurora Dental Group to schedule an appointment.)
If you are struggling with other symptoms in addition to teeth sensitivity—such as swollen gums, pain when chewing, or loose teeth—be sure to discuss this with your dentist at Aurora Dental Group. This may be indicative of another issue entirely.
Can teeth sensitivity be treated?
Yes! There are a number of treatments that your dentist at Aurora Dental Group may recommend depending on the cause of your teeth sensitivity. Your dentist will work with you to diagnose the issue and treat the sensitivity at the source. Additionally, they may recommend some of the following preventative measures to give you prolonged relief:
- Use Desensitizing Toothpaste. There are a number of brands of desensitizing toothpaste that your dentist can recommend.
- Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Using a soft-bristled brush twice daily can allow you to preserve your enamel while still removing plaque and bacteria.
- Use floridated mouthwash daily. Some mouthwashes are harsher on your teeth than others. Work with your dentist to pick a mouthwash that is right for you.
- Avoid highly acidic foods. It is important to avoid acidic foods if you have sensitive teeth, as these can greatly wear down on your enamel.
- Floss at least once a day. This will prevent bacteria buildup along the gum line, which can lead to gum disease and gingivitis.
For those who grind their teeth, use a mouth guard provided to you by your dentist.
You don’t have to live with the pain of teeth sensitivity! Call our offices today to schedule an appointment, so you can start getting much needed relief.