Many people don’t overthink their teeth until they start to hurt. Sensitive teeth are an issue that affects most of us at some point in our lives, and for some, the problem becomes chronic.
If you’ve ever experienced sensitivity in your teeth, you know how frustrating and uncomfortable it can be. Fortunately, sensitive teeth can be corrected with a few changes to your oral care routine and some medical treatment if the problem persists over time.
Sensitive teeth are one of the most common dental issues, but people aren’t always aware that there can be more than one cause and more than one treatment option. To help you understand your situation and what you can do about it, we’ve created this guide on the causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Many different things can cause your teeth to become sensitive. Sometimes it’s due to gum disease or tooth decay. Other times it can be caused by worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. It’s also possible to have teeth sensitivity if you have a history of teeth grinding (bruxism).
These are the most general causes of teeth sensitivity:
- Brushing too hard: This can wear down tooth enamel, exposing the underlying dentin.
- Gum disease can cause gum recession, which exposes the roots of your teeth.
- Tooth decay easily leads to cavities, which expose the nerves in your teeth.
- Acidic foods and drinks can wear down tooth enamel.
- Grinding your teeth will wear down tooth enamel and expose the dentin.
- Clenching your jaw can put undue stress on your teeth, leading to sensitivity.
The Symptoms of Teeth Sensitivity
Most people with sensitive teeth have pain when their teeth (and more precisely, their dentin tubules) are exposed to extreme temperatures, such as hot or cold drinks. Other common symptoms include pain when eating sweet, sour, or acidic foods; and pain when brushing or flossing. Whitening strips are another common trigger of sensitivity.
If you have sensitive teeth, you may also find that your teeth are more sensitive to changes in temperature (hot or cold) than they used to be. Sensitive teeth can be a sign of other dental problems, so it’s important to see your dentist if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
How To Treat Sensitive Teeth
You can do a few things to help relieve the pain of sensitive teeth. First, try using toothpaste for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes contain ingredients that help to block the pain signals from reaching the nerve.
You can also try using a desensitizing mouthwash or gel. These products work by creating a barrier over the exposed dentin. Another option is to have your dentist apply a fluoride varnish to your teeth.
This treatment helps to strengthen the tooth enamel and make it more resistant to sensitivity. If you are still experiencing pain, your dentist may recommend a dental procedure such as bonding or crowns to help protect your teeth from further damage.