Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee enough to make you wince in pain? Do you avoid biting into crunchy apples or cold treats because of sensitive teeth? You’re not alone. Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common dental complaints we see at our family dental practice.
Tooth sensitivity, also known as dentin hypersensitivity, refers to sharp pains or discomfort in your teeth when exposed to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks. It can range from a minor irritation to an intense, shooting pain that makes eating challenging.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Sensitivity arises when the hard enamel that protects the surface of your teeth gets thinner or worn down, exposing small tubules that lead directly to the soft, inner dentin. These tubules allow hot and cold stimuli to reach the nerves and trigger pain. This enamel erosion can occur due to factors like:
- Brushing too aggressively with a hard toothbrush or abrasive toothpaste
- Gum recession from periodontal disease, aging, genetics, or improper flossing
- Cracked or chipped teeth from injury or grinding/clenching
- Tooth decay or dental procedures like fillings and crowns
Whitening treatments can also temporarily cause sensitivity for some patients. The good news is dentin hypersensitivity can be easily treated by your dentist.
Relieving Tooth Sensitivity
At our office, we provide fast relief for tooth sensitivity and help you avoid future discomfort. Sensitive teeth can be managed with:
- Desensitizing toothpaste containing ingredients like strontium, stannous fluoride, or potassium nitrate to block nerve reaction
- Fluoride varnish or sealants applied by your dentist to protect exposed dentin
- Root canal therapy if decay or injury has reached the tooth pulp
- Tooth-colored fillings, crowns, or inlays to cover exposed roots
For immediate relief, we often recommend sensitivity-specific toothpastes as a first step. We can provide samples to find the one that works best for your needs. More serious cases may require professional dental treatments.
Schedule an Exam for Sensitive Teeth
If you’re dealing with ongoing tooth sensitivity, don’t delay visiting our caring team. We provide same-day emergency appointments in addition to routine family dental care. Bringing your condition under control is important, as sensitivity can worsen over time and lead to dental problems. With the right treatment plan, you can nip the issue in the bud and get back to enjoying all your favorite foods and drinks pain-free!