If you experience some sensitivity or pain to hot or cold beverages or food, or if brushing and flossing is a painful experience, you may have sensitive teeth. There are a number of causes for teeth sensitivity.
The simplest explanation is that it could be a sign of tooth decay or cavities. Fractured teeth, worn down fillings, or a high filling can also have this effect on your oral health. Gum disease, worn tooth enamel, or an exposed tooth root can be a cause as well.
Your teeth have a protective layer of enamel that protects the crown of the tooth and this is the hardest part of our bodies. Roots are covered by a layer of cementum that protects the tooth root. Underneath these protective layers lies the dentin. The dentin is less dense and has small tubules that connect the outside and inside (nerve canal) of the tooth. When a tooth loses its protective covering (enamel or cementum), it allows heat, cold, and acidic food to change the pressure in the tubules which stimulates the nerves and cells inside the tubules. Unfortunately, the only sensation the nerve endings in the tooth can communicate to our brains is pain . This causes tooth sensitivity.
However the protective coating (enamel or cementum is violated) it is usually due to some breakdown of the tooth. Cavities or tooth fractures break the seal of the enamel. Gum recession typically leads to cementum exposure and this is not hard enough to withstand our brushing forces so it eventually wears away and leaves the dentin tubules exposed.
Sensitive teeth can be treated and the treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. The best thing to do is to see your dentist right away and let them figure out what is causing your tooth sensitivity. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and rinsing daily, and seeing your dentist on a regular basis is always recommended in order to reduce the likelihood of this problem from happening. Don’t let this symptom go untreated as it can be a sign that something larger is developing. The longer you let it go, the more problematic it can become in the future.
If you have any other questions concerning this issue, please let us know and we would be happy to assist you.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Delaney, Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.