Don't Be So Sensitive!

Posted on April 21, 2016 in General oral health

You've likely experienced a little sensitivity when eating, perhaps after enjoying an ice-cold beverage or after biting into something particularly hot. Even breathing in a blast of cold air can sometimes cause discomfort. Why do some people experience sensitivity while others can eat whatever they want? Here are some of the most common causes.

exposed dentin

Exposed Dentin

Underneath the hard, shiny enamel of each tooth is a protective layer called dentin. Dentin is extremely sensitive, and those who suffer from severe sensitivity may have inadvertently exposed the dentin layer of the tooth. An overly aggressive brushing technique can cause the gums to recede and expose the dentin on the tooth root. This can be a particularly sensitive area.

periodontal disease

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal (gum) disease can destroy the bone and gum tissue to the point that the sensitive root part of the tooth is exposed. It's important to schedule regular dental checkups so gum disease can be prevented, or at least detected and treated, in the early stages, before the problem becomes more serious.

Whitening Treatments

Whitening Treatments

From simple whitening toothpastes and rinses to professional in-office applications, many tooth whitening treatments can cause extra sensitivity. If your quest to make your teeth pearly white is affecting their sensitivity, your dentist may recommend fewer applications or a lower-strength treatment.

Tooth Grinding

Tooth Grinding/Clenching

Sensitivity can also be caused by excessive tooth grinding or clenching. Some patients habitually grind or clench while sleeping, making them completely unaware of the problem. When this is the case, wearing a mouthguard to bed to prevent the unconscious grinding can sometimes solve the problem. Your dentist will have additional suggestions and treatments.

Most people experience slight tooth sensitivity from time to time. If yours is frequent, interferes with your ability to eat or lowers the quality of your daily life, discuss possible treatments with your dentist.