Do you feel sharp pains when you eat your ice cream? Or a jolt when you are drinking your orange juice? Or a jab when you are brushing or flossing? You may be part of the millions of Americans suffering from “dentin hypersensitivity”, aka sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth are caused by a number of different things, but can all be linked to an exposure of dentin. In healthy teeth, your tooth’s dentin is protected by the hardy enamel layer. When that is damaged, through several different ways, it allows external things to reach the nerve-filled dentin, causing the pain.
Some common things that contribute to tooth sensitivity are: buildups of plaque, eating away at your enamel; receding gum lines caused by gum disease and gingivitis; grinding and wearing down your teeth, causing the enamel to fracture; eating highly acidic foods; overusing over-the-counter bleaching kits; brushing too hard; untreated dental decay; or even overusing mouthwash.
When your dentin is exposed, many outside factors can trigger a pain response. 75% of the time, it is caused by a thermal trigger; that is, hot or cold foods or drinks causing sharp sudden pain. Acid is another trigger, including acidic and sweet foods and beverages. A blast of air can trigger a pain reaction, as can a poke or prod in the wrong area.
Naturally, with so many causes, there are also many treatments. Some dentists may recommend a desensitizing toothpaste, which helps to block the pain triggered by the dentin exposure. A dentist may also apply a tooth sealant, protecting the dentin in harder to reach areas. A treatment of fluoride may also be effective in rebuilding lost enamel and helping reduce sensitivity.
If all else fails, and the sensitivity is severe enough, a root canal may be in order. A dentist will manually remove the nerves in the affected tooth (or teeth), preventing future pain and sensitivity in that area. If you are concerned about tooth sensitivity, feel free to ask your friendly Valencia dentist. They are always there to help and can discuss your options with you and find the root cause of your issues.
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