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What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Posted on 1/15/2024 by Dr. Darren Huddleston
Image of a smiling woman at The Center for Esthetic Dentistry. Tooth sensitivity is a common dental issue that can make daily activities like eating and drinking a painful experience for many individuals. The affected roots of the teeth may experience this pain. The symptoms can vary from mild to intense and come and go without apparent cause.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Various factors contribute to tooth sensitivity. Common causes include:

Enamel Erosion

The enamel, the outermost layer of the tooth, protects the sensitive dentin underneath. However, constant exposure to acidic substances or vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel, making the teeth sensitive.

Gum Recession

When the gums recede, the roots of the teeth become exposed. Unlike the enamel-covered crown, the roots contain tiny tubules that connect to the nerve center of the tooth, causing sensitivity to temperature and certain foods.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Teeth grinding, or bruxism is a common contributor to tooth sensitivity. The constant pressure and friction can wear down the enamel, making the teeth more susceptible to sensitivity.

Dental Procedures

Certain dental procedures, such as teeth whitening or restoration, can cause temporary sensitivity. This sensitivity typically resolves on its own, but it is essential to follow post-procedure care instructions provided by your dentist.

Preventing and Managing Tooth Sensitivity

If you are experiencing mild tooth sensitivity, there are a few things you can try before seeking professional treatment. Opt for a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, as it will not contain irritating ingredients. This toothpaste may also have desensitizing ingredients that can help alleviate discomfort by blocking it from reaching the nerves. When it comes to mouthwash, choose an alcohol-free option to minimize irritation to sensitive teeth. Using a softer toothbrush and brushing gently can also help improve sensitivity. If home treatments fail, see our dentist for prescription toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride gel or desensitizing agents will be applied in-office to strengthen enamel and protect teeth.

Taking proactive steps to address sensitivity can lead to a healthier, more comfortable smile. Maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking professional dental advice from our dentist is crucial to preventing and managing tooth sensitivity.
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