Managing Sensitive Teeth

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common problems dental patients have. Tooth sensitivity can affect just one tooth or all teeth. Most people experience sensitivity when drinking hot, cold, sweet or sour, and that pain quickly spreads deep into nerve endings of your teeth.

Tooth sensitivity arises when gums recede and expose the underlying dentin. Dentin is the soft layer of tooth located beneath tooth enamel. There are thousands of tiny tubes within the dentin leading to the tooth’s nerve center. These tubes allow sensations of hot and cold to reach the nerve, causing sudden pain. Sensitive teeth can be caused by a multitude of things including wear and tear due to brushing too hard, tooth decay, gingivitis leading to gum recession, chipped or broken teeth, teeth grinding, tooth whitening products, age, plaque buildup, and eating acidic foods. The big take away is that all of these factors listed expose dentin, which ultimately can cause tooth sensitivity.

How you can reduce tooth sensitivity on your own? Brushing and flossing regularly reduces the chance of gum recession and will keep your teeth healthy! Use a soft-bristled toothbrush so you don’t brush too hard or irritate your gums too much. Toothpaste made for sensitive teeth is also an excellent way to help alleviate the pain. Avoid acidic foods! This way you won’t irritate your gums or teeth (and you’ll have a lesser chance of getting cavities). Grinding can also cause gum recession; if you are a grinder make sure to wear your night guard.

If your teeth persist to be severely sensitive after several days your dentist can help solve the problem. Bonding can be applied to cover exposed root surfaces as well as varnishes. These methods will protect the dentin and prevent any irritants from causing any pain.