An estimated 1 in 8 people is bothered by sensitive teeth. The numbers actually might be higher, however, since many individuals who have sensitive teeth just try to live with the problem. The good news is that you don’t have to do that.
The oral health care experts at byte Dentistry in Houston, TX share the facts about teeth sensitivity and the many treatments available through your dentist.
Understanding tooth sensitivity
Also referred to as dentin hypersensitivity, tooth sensitivity causes pain or discomfort in your teeth when they’re exposed to certain stimuli. If you have sensitive teeth, hot and cold beverages or food, sweet treats, and brushing can all cause pain and discomfort in one or all your teeth.
The discomfort is typically temporary, but it can be a sharp pain deep into the roots of your teeth. It may vary in intensity, from mild to severe, and sometimes occurs only periodically or may be a problem every time you expose your teeth to a trigger.
Other triggers for discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity include:
- Cold air
- Alcohol-based mouth rinses and beverages, even when consumed at room temperature
- Acidic foods and drinks, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, and yogurt
Understanding the cause of your tooth sensitivity becomes the basis of your treatment, which can alleviate your symptoms and put your favorite foods and beverages back on the menu.
Reasons for sensitive teeth
There are many potential causes for teeth sensitivity.
Sometimes it indicates your tooth enamel is thin. Enamel is that tough outer covering that’s designed to protect the more sensitive inner parts of your teeth, including the dentin, pulp, and nerves. Some people are born with thin or weak enamel.
Oftentimes, however, age and other issues such as inappropriate brushing techniques or grinding your teeth at night can wear down your tooth enamel.
Other causes of sensitive teeth include:
- Receding gums, which expose tooth surfaces meant to remain under the gumline
- Tooth decay
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Gingivitis (early gum disease)
- Periodontitis (advanced gum disease)
- Brushing with a hard toothbrush
- Loose fillings
Once we identify the cause of your teeth sensitivity, we can design a treatment strategy that addresses the underlying reason(s) for your discomfort.
Treating your sensitive teeth
Before we can treat your teeth sensitivity, we need to know what’s behind it. So, we start with a thorough exam and detailed discussion of when, where, and how your symptoms are occurring. We may also recommend further diagnostic studies, such as X-rays, to help identify hidden cavities or other issues that can cause pain in your teeth.
Based on our findings, we may recommend:
- Repairing loose fillings
- Filling cavities
- Root canal to treat issues in a tooth’s soft core or pulp
- Strengthening your enamel and desensitizing your teeth with prescription-grade fluoride and toothpaste
- Treatment for gum disease
- Surgical gum graft to replace lost gum tissue
- Applying bonding material to sensitive root surfaces
There’s really no reason to live with sensitive teeth and the discomfort they cause when we can provide treatment that resolves the symptoms.
Also, be aware that the sensitivity can signal decay or other problems that are threatening your oral health.
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment at byte Dentistry We can help. Call the office or book your visit online.