Is a sip of hot coffee or a spoonful of ice cream a painful experience? If so, you may have sensitive teeth. Having sensitive teeth is a condition that causes discomfort in your teeth when they are exposed to certain stimuli such as hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks.
Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Your teeth may become sensitive if the inner layer of your teeth, called dentin, becomes exposed. There are thousands of tiny channels filled with nerves that lead to your tooth’s nerve center which allow stimuli to reach the main nerve in your tooth. When these channels are unprotected by the outer layer of your tooth, it can lead to severe pain when the nerves become exposed to stimuli such as hot or cold temperatures.
Some factors which may contribute to sensitive teeth include:
- Dental cavities
- Cracked tooth
- Worn tooth enamel
- Exposed tooth roots
- Receding gum line
- Gum disease
- Tooth whitening products
- Tooth decay near the gum line
- Brushing too hard
- Erosion at the gumline caused by abfraction (flexing) of the tooth due to a heavy bite
Treatments to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
Mesa dentists Dr. Scott LeSueur and Dr. Charles Dodaro may recommend the following treatments for your sensitive teeth:
Desensitizing toothpaste – Regular brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste can help eliminate the pain you are experiencing.
Fluoridated dental products – Prescription mouth washes and toothpastes containing a higher concentration of fluoride can help reduce tooth sensitivity.
Avoid teeth grinding – If you regularly grind your teeth while you sleep, use a mouth guard to prevent this grinding from damaging your teeth.
Use a soft bristled toothbrush – This will help reduce gum irritation and abrasion to the surface of your teeth. Make sure you brush gently but thoroughly around the gums in order to prevent your gum line from receding further.
Cover exposed root surfaces – Dr. LeSueur and Dr. Dodaro may use a special sealant to cover any exposed tooth roots which are causing your sensitivity
If none of these treatments help eliminate your sensitive teeth, then Dr. LeSueur and Dr. Dodaro may recommend a root canal to remove any tooth pulp problems which may be causing your sensitivity.