Do you feel a sharp pain when you bite down? Do you feel a spike of pain when you take a bite of something cold or hot?
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem, 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.
Causes of tooth sensitivity
There are four common causes.
1) Worn enamel: Enamel protects the “dentin” layer of the tooth. Dentin is the soft layer of the tooth right under the enamel. It protects the tooth’s pulp, which means it’s close to the nerve of your teeth. You can lose enamel by brushing too hard, drinking acidic drinks, mouthwashes, and 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 (perhaps due to stress).
2) Gum disease: As gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, your gums may recede, exposing the sensitive 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.
3) Cracks and tooth decay: obviously, having a crack or fault line in the tooth can expose your nerve, leading to sensitivity.
4) Recent dental procedures: having a recent procedure done can cause some tooth sensitivity, at least initially. If you’ve recently gotten a filling, crown, or a tooth whitening procedure, some tooth sensitivity will be normal. This form of tooth sensitivity is the only type that may subside on its own, though you should speak to your dentist if the pain is especially great, or if it persists for too long.
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 one of the main culprits, 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 I stop tooth sensitivity?
You may need to address underlying issues, including defective fillings/crowns/bonding/etc. Or, you may need a root canal due to having nerve damage in the tooth as a result of decay or trauma. Your dentist can also check for signs of night time teeth-grinding (bruxism), and can fit you with a custom-mouthguard if you grind. We can check for signs of gum disease, and determine whether you’ll need a gum graft to cover up exposed areas.
If you are concerned about tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment at Pure Dental Arts today!