Does that bite of ice cream make you wince? Hot coffee or tea have you jumping in pain? Perhaps brushing and flossing are occasionally painful. All these experiences could mean you may have sensitive teeth.
Possible causes include:
Tooth decay (cavities)
Worn tooth enamel
Exposed tooth root
There is a layer of enamel in healthy teeth that protects the crowns of your teeth, which is the part just above the gum line. Under the gum line is a layer called cementum which protects the tooth root. Under both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.
Dentin is not as dense as enamel or centum, and contains microscopic hollow tubes or canals. Dentin that loses its protective coating of enamel or cementum causes the small hollow tubes to allow heat, cold, acidic, or sticky foods to penetrate and reach the nerves and cells inside of your tooth. Dentin can also be exposed when gums recede resulting in hypersensitivity.
Depending on the cause of your sensitivity, there are treatments, including:
Desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that help block the transmission of sensation from the surface of your tooth to the nerve. It typically requires several applications before results are achieved.
Fluoride Gel is an in-office technique which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces sensation transmission.
A crown, inlay, or bonding. These are usually used to correct a flaw or decay resulting in sensitivity.
Surgical gum graft. If you’ve lost gum tissue from the root, this option protects the root and reduces sensitivity.
A Root Canal may be necessary if sensitivity is severe and persistent enough that it cannot be treated by other means.
Proper oral hygiene is of utmost importance to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. If you have any questions or concerns about your daily oral hygiene routine, please give us a call!