What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

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If you avoid ice cream and hot coffee, experience slight pain during simple tooth cleanings, and seem to require twice the amount of Novocain as a regular patient, you have probably wondered why your teeth are so sensitive.

Wonder no more: in this post, we’ll break down some of the top causes of sensitive teeth, as well as some possible solutions.


What is Dentin Hypersensitivity?

Most people will probably tell you that teeth are made of enamel—but enamel only coats the outside surface of your teeth. The inside of your teeth is made up of a material called dentin, which is filled with microscopic tubules containing tiny nerve endings. The outside portion of your tooth—the area that is replaced when you get a crown—is composed of hard enamel, and the root is protected by a material called cementum. Dentin hypersensitivity, or dental nerve irritation, occurs when the dentin loses some of its protective enamel and is exposed to the surface. Essentially, your teeth are likely sensitive because the enamel is thin or missing—either through natural genetics or some other cause.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

So, what has worn down your enamel? During the course of your life, a number of factors can contribute to enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity. Causes can include:

  • Hard, aggressive, or over-frequent brushing
  • Consumption of highly acidic foods and beverages
  • Tooth decay caused by long-term lack of care
  • Gum recession that has exposed your roots to the surface
  • Grinding your teeth while asleep or stressed
  • A combination of some or all of the above

Try to pay attention to your daily routine and the foods you consume during the week. It may be that by changing some of your daily habits, you can help to significantly reduce your tooth sensitivity.

sensitive teeth

How Can I Protect my Sensitive Teeth?

The first step in relieving sensitive tooth pain is having a consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to determine the root cause of your sensitivity, if any, and identify a solution. For instance, if your discomfort is being caused by gum erosion, your dentist may suggest a gum graft that will protect the surface of the roots. Your dentist may also apply an in-office fluoride gel that will strengthen your enamel, or prescribe a desensitizing toothpaste that can block off the nerve endings in any exposed dentin.

Help Your Sensitive Teeth at Friendly Dentistry

Whatever is causing your sensitive teeth, it’s a mystery that can only be solved with the help of your dentist. So if your painful tooth sensitivity has been keeping you away from your favorite foods, schedule an appointment with an accredited Greensboro dentist today.

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