You know that dreaded feeling you get whenever you try to enjoy ice cream or a hot cup of coffee in the morning. For some it’s a minor inconvenience and for others, it is a toothache that is difficult to bear. This type of pain is extremely common. In fact, one in eight adults claim to have some level of tooth sensitivity when exposed to certain temperatures and textures. Fortunately, you don’t just have to sit there and suffer with this problem. By figuring out the cause and taking steps to relieve your pain, you will once again be able to enjoy your favorite treats.
What Is Causing My Teeth Sensitivity?
Teeth sensitivity is generally caused when the protective layer of enamel on the outside of your teeth wears away and leaves the layer underneath, dentin, exposed. Dentin contains sensitive nerves that can cause pain when they come into contact with hot and cold temperatures. Here are a few ways that the dentin could be uncovered and leave you with this toothache.
- Cavities: If you have untreated tooth decay, it can wear through the enamel of the tooth and leave the dentin exposed.
- Wrong tool: If you are using a toothbrush that has hard bristles, it is much easier to damage your soft tissues and enamel. This could lead to gum recession and the exposure of the tooth root.
- Vigorous brushing: Don’t be brushing your teeth too violently. You can cause damage to your enamel and gum tissue.
- Bad eating habits: Consuming too many starchy, sugary, or acidic foods and beverages can soften your enamel and make it erode away much easier.
- Gum disease: Periodontal disease can cause the gums to recede over time, therefore exposing the root of the tooth.
- Damaged restorations: If you have a crown or filling that has become dislodged or damaged, the more sensitive layers of your teeth could be exposed to bacteria and more extreme temperatures.
- Bruxism (teeth grinding): Grinding your teeth at night can damage the chewing surface of the tooth which will lead to sensitivity over time.
How Do I Reduce My Teeth Sensitivity?
If you have new or worsening tooth sensitivity, it is best to see your dentist. They will be able to rule out any serious issues going on in the mouth. Once dental emergencies have been ruled out, you could try some of these techniques in order to lessen the pain of your toothache:
- New toothpaste: Next time you go to the drug store, look for a toothpaste that is made especially for people who have sensitive teeth. After using it for a few weeks, you will begin to notice a difference.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: Use a toothbrush that has softer bristles because it is easier on the enamel and gum tissue.
- Eat smart: If you already suffer from sensitivity, don’t exacerbate it by consuming too many acidic foods and beverages.
If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, talk to your dentist and try some of these steps. By working together, you can get some relief.
About the Author
Dr. Michetti provides a wide array of services, including emergency dental care, at his practice, Lifetime Dental, in Agawam, MA. He is recognized as a “Top 1% Dentist” for achieving Mastership status in the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Michetti has also completed courses at the prestigious Dawson Academy in Florida. For more information on tooth sensitivity or to schedule an emergency appointment, visit his website or call (413) 786-4400.