Tooth Sensitivity – What Causes It and What You Can Do

Tooth Sensitivity – What Causes It and What You Can Do

When you can’t pull yourself to bite into a scoop of ice cream or let your teeth touch hot coffee, your tooth sensitivity has gone so far. But what is causing it, and what can you do about it? About 40 million adults suffer from tooth sensitivity in the United States alone. The underlying causes of tooth sensitivity vary, and the best way to find out is a visit to your dentist.

The Root Cause of Tooth Sensitivity

No matter the specific cause of your tooth sensitivity, it all begins in one place. That place is called tooth “dentin.” Dentin is the soft inner layer of your tooth that resides underneath the protection of your hard tooth enamel. The dentin is comprised of microscopic tubes that hold very small nerve endings that allow your teeth to feel. When the protective enamel of your tooth wears away, and the dentin becomes exposed, this ultimately leads to tooth sensitivity. The pain associated with dentin being exposed to extreme cold or heat can be intense!

What Causes Enamel to Disappear?

Enamel can be worn down by a variety of things. Here is a short list of things that could cause your tooth sensitivity:

  • Brushing your teeth too hard using hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down enamel.
  • Highly acidic foods and beverages cause enamel to wear away.
  • Tooth decay, worn leaky fillings and broken teeth that expose the dentin of your tooth.
  • Gum recession that leaves your root surface exposed.
  • Grinding your teeth at night.
  • Post dental treatment sensitivity – temporary, but associated with treatments such as cavity fillings and crowns.

If you have a good oral routine including brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush, avoiding acidic beverages, and flossing regularly, you can typically avoid serious tooth sensitivity. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, give us a call today to discuss your options!

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