Have you ever experienced a sudden, sharp pain in your teeth when you eat or drink something cold or sweet? If you feel a pain or tingling sensation, then you could well be suffering from sensitive teeth.
Teeth sensitivity can be caused by a number of things, including enamel erosion, receding gums, and even dental procedures.
In this article, we take a closer look at the six most common causes of teeth sensitivity.
What are Sensitive Teeth?
Your teeth can often become sensitive when the layer of enamel that protects the tooth is wearing down, leaving the dentin exposed. Dentin is part of the tooth that has microscopic canals to the nerves and cells of the tooth. When a hot or cold drink or acidic food travels through the dentin and reaches the nerves, it can cause pain and a tingling feeling.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
As we get older, we all experience pain and discomfort in our teeth at some point. For many of us, this can happen when eating something very cold or drinking a hot drink, but for those who are suffering from recurring pain, this could be a sign of a serious issue such as a cracked tooth or damaged tooth filling.
Brushing too hard
If you brush too vigorously, over time, you can wear down the enamel layer and damage your gums. Additionally, brushing using a hard-bristle toothbrush can also damage your enamel. That said, make sure to always brush your teeth in gentle circular motions and apply light pressure with a soft-bristle toothbrush.
See also: How to Choose Toothbrush Bristles
Your gums may naturally start to pull away from your teeth. When it happens, it exposes the root surfaces, leading to pain and discomfort when you eat or drink anything hot, cold, or sweet. In addition to causing sensitive teeth, receding gums can also make your teeth look longer than they actually are.
Gum disease can cause the loss of supporting ligaments, which leads to sensitive teeth as the tooth’s root surface is exposed. In addition, gum disease can cause irritation and inflammation of the tooth nerves.
Cracked tooth or filling
A tooth or filling that is cracked will allow hot, cold, acidic, and sweet substances to reach the dentin and, eventually, the tooth nerves, causing pain when drinking or eating. If you think you might have a cracked tooth or filling, you should see a dentist as soon as possible to have it repaired and avoid further infection.
Consuming foods and drinks that are high in acid, such as tomatoes, teas, and citrus fruits, regularly will cause the enamel to wear away over time and then expose the dentin, causing a twinge of pain. Enamel erosion can also be caused by teeth grinding.
Recent dental procedures
Some people may experience sensitive teeth after certain dental procedures, including tooth fillings, dental restoration, and even regular cleanings. In most cases, tooth sensitivity following a dental procedure is temporary and will disappear in a few weeks.
Sensitive Teeth vs. Sensitive Gums
Many people confuse sensitive teeth with sensitive gums, but the two conditions are different. As discussed above, sensitive teeth happen when the dentin of the tooth is exposed, while sensitive gums happen when your gums become sore, sometimes accompanied by swelling, redness, and bleeding.
There are a number of factors that can cause gum sensitivity, such as gum disease, vitamin C deficiency, and oral infections. It may be hard to tell whether you have sensitive teeth or sensitive gums, so it’s best to seek professional assistance to better assess your condition.
If you are experiencing pain after brushing your teeth or consuming certain foods and drinks, we recommend scheduling an appointment with Maestri Dental for a checkup as soon as possible. You can also check out our post on tips for dealing with sensitive teeth.
Dr. Maestri is an experienced dentist serving the Lafayette, LA, area, who can help you with sensitive teeth or gums. We have helped countless patients achieve healthy teeth and gums, so now is your turn!
Don’t delay and make an appointment today! Your oral health is our priority.