girl with sensitive teeth

Sensitive Teeth: Getting to the Root of the Problem

Sensitive teeth are one of the biggest reasons for discomfort among patients who visit the dentist.

When the teeth are sensitive, it is usually due to the wear of the enamel. However, it also occurs due to other problems. In this article, we will get to the root of the matter.

Dental discomfort can be caused by factors such as a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling, or gum disease.

Symptoms of sensitive teeth

Tooth sensitivity pain is defined as severe, transient tooth pain. It appears while consuming hot or cold, acidic or sweet drinks or foods. 

Some people may feel the pain right at the root of their teeth. Sometimes you can also feel the pain spreading around the tooth.

The duration of the pain is exactly the same as the duration of the presence of the stimulus.

What causes sensitive teeth?

Dentin exposure triggers the sensation of pain. Dentin is the softest part of the tooth and is protected by tooth enamel.

The third most common cause of tooth sensitivity is receding gums. This can be caused by some oral diseases.

Other circumstances that can create sensitivity in the teeth are the misuse of some products, the grinding of the teeth, and stress.

Some regular habits contribute to enamel wear and can lead to long-term tooth sensitivity, for example: 

  • Brushing your teeth too hard.
  • Using an inappropriate brush.
  • Tensing your jaw.
  • Consuming excessively acidic foods and beverages. 

There are also diseases -which are not related to the mouth or oral hygiene- that can cause dental sensitivity. These include Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), gastroparesis, and bulimia.

But if you look for the most common reasons for this problem, you will find tooth decay, broken teeth, chipped teeth, and worn fillings or crowns. What do all these conditions have in common? The exposure of the tooth dentin.

Some dental procedures and treatments cause tooth sensitivity temporarily.

This can happen after fillings placement, crowns, or even after teeth whitening. In the latter case, sensitivity can also be felt in the teeth surrounding the tooth that received the dental work. 

How is tooth sensitivity treated?

Currently, tooth sensitivity can be treated in different ways.

Desensitising toothpaste. 

This can help block the pain associated with sensitive teeth. It contains potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, which blocks the small tunnels through which pain signals travel to reach the tooth nerve.

Fluoride. 

This element serves to strengthen tooth enamel and also has a pain-reducing effect.

Adhesive. 

The dentist can cover the exposed surface with a special adhesive or resin. This protects the root of the tooth and minimises tooth sensitivity.

Surgical gum graft. 

This procedure is indicated if your tooth has lost gum tissue. The tissue to be grafted comes from another part of your mouth and can be perfectly bonded to the affected site. This protects exposed roots and reduces sensitivity.

Root canal. 

This procedure is usually used to save a tooth whose nerve tissue has died or is decaying. When teeth are treated with this method is because it contains bacteria inside. In this several cases, dental sensitivity is just a symptom of a disease.

If you present any of the symptoms mentioned here, go to our dental centre. Our dentists are highly qualified and can make accurate and professional diagnoses. Schedule your appointment with us and take care of your oral health.

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