Tooth Sensitivity

22 Mar Causes and Solutions of Tooth Sensitivity by Fairbanks Family Dental Care

Tooth sensitivity occurs for various reasons, and there can be differing levels of sensitivity. But one thing those who experience sensitivity agree on: it can make eating and drinking an unenjoyable experience. It may feel a little different for everyone, but typically, a sensitive tooth feels like a sharp pain when eating certain textures or temperatures of foods. You may have experienced it while eating ice cream or biting into something crunchy, like crackers or pretzels. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, over 40 million people within the United States experience tooth sensitivity. And while it’s often a minor issue, none of us wants to undergo the pain caused by sensitive teeth. That’s why, at Fairbanks Family Dental Care, we’re taking the time to look at causes of sensitivity and to suggest possible solutions.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity:

  • The dentin (the tooth layer under the enamel) is exposed due to cavities, cracked teeth, or recessed gums
  • Enamel is worn down from brushing teeth too hard, or from brushing with a toothbrush that is too firm
  • Periodontal issues like gum recession or gum disease
  • Build-up of plaque
  • Acidic or sugary foods that wear down enamel
  • Over-exposure to heavy chemicals, such as certain mouthwashes or whitening kits that were not prescribed by your dentist
  • Grinding or clenching teeth

How to Help Tooth Sensitivity:

  • Start by contacting your dentist to find the underlying cause of the sensitivity
  • To prevent plaque buildup and enamel decay, eat healthier foods that are low in sugar and low in acid content
  • Switch to a softer toothbrush with gentle bristles
  • Take care of dental needs, like fillings, bridges, or crowns, to cover sensitive tooth areas
  • Use a mouthwash with fluoride, or one that is intended to reduce sensitivity

If a tooth’s sensitivity has progressed far enough, a root canal may be necessary. But there are many reasons why tooth sensitivity can occur, so it’s best to consult with your dentist before assuming you need a root canal. You may find the problem can be resolved by simply switching to a different toothbrush or to another mouthwash. By contacting Fairbanks Family Dental Care, we can help you determine whether your sensitivity is able to be resolved by at-home oral care, or by a dental procedure like a filling or crown. And don’t forget to schedule your biannual dental cleanings to remove plaque and get a thorough dental checkup. Cleanings make your teeth feel clean and are beneficial for maintaining your healthy smile. Call us today with your questions, or to schedule an appointment!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/1/2017)  Hamza Butt (Flickr)