Teeth sensitivity can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition that affects many people. It is characterized by a sharp pain or discomfort in the teeth when exposed to certain stimuli, such as hot or cold temperatures, sweet or acidic foods, and even brushing or flossing. The pain can range from mild to severe and can greatly affect a person’s quality of life.
There are several causes of teeth sensitivity, including:
- Tooth decay: This is one of the most common causes of teeth sensitivity. When tooth decay is not treated, it can lead to a hole in the tooth, called a cavity. This allows hot and cold temperatures, as well as sweet and acidic foods, to reach the nerves inside the tooth, causing pain.
- Gum disease: This is another common cause of teeth sensitivity. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can cause them to pull away from the teeth. This exposes the tooth roots, which do not have the protective layer of enamel that the rest of the tooth has, making them more sensitive to stimuli.
- Worn tooth enamel: The enamel on your teeth is the protective layer that shields the tooth from sensitivity. If this enamel gets worn down, whether from over-brushing, acid erosion, or other factors, the tooth can become sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet or acidic foods.
- Cracked or chipped teeth: A crack or chip in a tooth can also cause sensitivity. This is because the crack or chip can allow hot and cold temperatures and sweet or acidic foods to reach the nerves inside the tooth.
- Grinding or clenching: People who grind or clench their teeth can wear down the enamel and expose the tooth roots, which can cause sensitivity.
Treatment options for teeth sensitivity include:
- Desensitizing toothpaste: These toothpastes contain ingredients that help to block the pain associated with teeth sensitivity. They are available over the counter and should be used as directed.
- Fluoride gel: A fluoride gel can be applied to the sensitive teeth to help strengthen the enamel and reduce sensitivity.
- Bonding: A dental bonding procedure can be used to cover exposed tooth roots and reduce sensitivity.
- Crowns or veneers: If the tooth is severely damaged or decayed, a crown or veneer may be recommended to protect the tooth and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal: In some cases, a root canal may be necessary to remove the infected or damaged nerve inside the tooth and eliminate the sensitivity.
It is important to see a dentist if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. They can determine the cause of the sensitivity and recommend the appropriate treatment. Additionally, practicing good oral hygiene and avoiding foods and drinks that are high in sugar and acid can help to prevent teeth sensitivity from occurring or getting worse.