Do you find it difficult to eat foods like ice cream or drink hot coffee in the morning? You aren’t alone. In fact, one in eight adults claim to have some sort of tooth sensitivity. This sensation is usually sharp and occurs during or directly after consuming something that is either hot or cold. Read on to see what your emergency dentist has to say about the causes of tooth sensitivity and learn what you can do to put a stop to the pain.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
All teeth are covered in a layer of enamel, which acts as protection. Underneath the enamel is dentin, which is highly sensitive. When this layer becomes exposed, it can result in sharp pain when it comes into contact with hot and cold temperatures as well as certain textures. Here are a few ways that the dentin can become uncovered:
- Cavities: If you have an unknown cavity somewhere in your mouth, it may present itself as sensitivity in that particular area.
- Gum disease: Periodontal disease can cause your gums to recede, which can result in exposure of the dentin and tooth sensitivity.
- Improper brushing: If you’re not using proper brushing technique or are using the wrong tools, like a hard-bristled toothbrush, you can damage your enamel or gums, ultimately leading to sensitivity.
- Damaging food and drinks: Constantly consuming acidic foods and beverages like citrus fruits/juices, coffee, or soda, damages your enamel over time.
- Teeth grinding: Bruxism can wear down the enamel due excess pressure placed on the teeth throughout the night. This causes sensitivity and leaves you vulnerable to cracks and chips.
- Broken fillings: If you have an old filling that has broken, the sensitive part of your teeth might be exposed to bacteria, food debris, and hot and cold temperatures.
How Can I Treat My Sensitive Teeth?
If your sensitivity is new or worsening, it is a good idea to see your emergency dentist to ensure that something serious isn’t going on. Make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush and aren’t brushing too harshly. You could look for a toothpaste that is made especially for people with sensitive teeth. It may take anywhere from two to four weeks before you notice the benefits. It may also be beneficial to alter your diet. Avoid excessively sugary and acidic foods and beverage to prevent worsening sensitivity.
If you think you have bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, ask your dentist about getting a custom-made nightguard to prevent further damage to your enamel.
Tooth sensitivity is difficult to deal with on a daily basis. By taking these steps and talking to your dentist, you’ll be able to enjoy your next cup of coffee or ice cream cone completely pain free!
About the Author
Dr. Hube Parker graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry and has been practicing in Mobile for over 25 years. He is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Dental Association and the Alabama Dental Association. If you’re ready to finally do something about your sensitive teeth, he can help, so visit his website or call (251) 634-2341.