Tooth Sensitivity: What Are the Causes
Often times when we eat or drink something hot or cold or acidic, our tooth hurts. Why does this happen?
When our teeth and gums are healthy, the dentin of the tooth – the layer surrounding the nerve – is covered and protected by the enamel, as well as surrounded by the gums. Unfortunately, as we age, the enamel covering of our teeth thins and many times our gums recede, as well. The end results of these aging processes is less protection for the dentin, which also means less protection for the nerve, as well.
When the underlying dentin is exposed, the tubes contained in it are often stimulated by changes in temperatures or certain types of food and this is what causes the pain the sensitivity in our teeth.
The effects of aging are not the only cause of exposure of the dentin. Other common factors are the following: acidic beverages that cause enamel erosion; tooth grinding; brushing with abrasive toothpaste; brushing incorrectly; brushing more than three times a day; gum disease; chipping or fracturing of teeth; and finally, dental procedures such as teeth whitening and braces.
If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, you will need to visit your dentist to find out what is causing your pain. If your dentist discovers your pain is due to exposed dentin, there are a number of ways to reduce your sensitivity. Steps you can take yourself include: the use of an extremely soft bristled tooth brush to brush your teeth; brushing your teeth correctly; and using a tooth paste that is specifically formulated for sensitive teeth.
The steps your dentist may take to reduce your sensitivity include: applying a fluoride varnish on the sensitive areas of your tooth to strengthen the tooth; prescribing a high fluoride tooth paste for daily use; and placing a dental restoration to build up the areas that have lost enamel.