Feeling a sharp pain in your tooth when you bite down on something just the right way? Does your tooth light up with pain when you take a bite of ice cream or soup?
Tooth sensitivity is irritating, and it can be a sign of a serious dental problem. In most cases, it won’t go away on its own and can affect your quality of life.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
There are four common causes.
The first is worn enamel. Enamel protects the “dentin” layer of the tooth. Dentin is a hard material, but a thin one. It protects the tooth’s pulp, which means it’s close to the nerve endings in your teeth. You can lose enamel by over-brushing, drinking acidic drinks, using acidic mouthwash, or eating acidic foods. You can also wear out your enamel by crunching ice on a regular basis, or by grinding your teeth at night (i.e. bruxing) or during the day (when you’re more stressed-out).
The second cause is gum disease. As gingivitis progresses to periodontitis it wears away enough of your gumline to start exposing your tooth’s root. Nerves run straight through the middle of the root. Again, the layer of dentin in your tooth’s root is not enough to keep the nerves from sensing heat, cold, or pressure.
The third cause: cracks and tooth decay, because the fault in the tooth begins exposing more and more of your nerve.
The fourth cause is some dental procedures, which can create tooth sensitivities, at least initially. If you’ve gotten a filling, a crown, or a tooth whitening procedure recently then some tooth sensitivity is normal. This form of tooth sensitivity is the only one that can go away on its own, though you should speak to your dentist if the pain is especially great, or if it persists for too long.
Any home remedies for tooth sensitivity?
There are a few steps you can take at home to reduce tooth sensitivity, like switching to a desensitizing toothpaste and using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
We recommend you reduce your intake of acidic foods. Soda is a main culprit, as are other sugary drinks. Drink water whenever possible.
It may help to switch out your mouthwash. Switching to a warm salt rinse or rinsing with coconut oil can be a good alternative to alcohol-based mouthwashes.
How can you stop tooth sensitivity?
You may need to address underlying issues, including fillings, crowns, bonding, or with a root canal. Your dentist can also check for signs of bruxism (nighttime teeth-grinding), and can fit you with a custom-mouthguard if you brux. We can check for signs of gum disease, and determine whether you’ll need a gum graft to address the problem.
To reduce or eliminate tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment at Pure Dental Arts today.