What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Causes Sensitive Teeth

If you suffer from sensitive teeth, drinking anything too hot or too cold can be an extremely painful experience. All you want to do is enjoy an ice cream cone or an ice cold drink on a hot day, but the tooth pain is just too much to bear. For most of us, sensitive tooth pain comes on gradually, so it might be helpful to know what causes it so you can get ahead of the soreness.

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Potential Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Taking extra special care of your tooth enamel is critical to protecting your teeth. When that tough, protective layer wears away, it exposes your nerve endings and causes pain. One key to protecting your enamel is to avoid brushing too hard. Plaque can be difficult to remove but make sure that’s all you’re trying to remove. Brushing with too much force and pressure, especially side-to-side at the gum line, can actually remove your enamel. Use a bush with soft bristles and work at a 45-degree angle to your gum line to keep the where it should be.

Acidic foods and drinks are another cause of teeth sensitivity. Examples of these types of foods include soda, candy and high sugar carbohydrates. If you can’t live without your late afternoon soda pick-me-up, experts advise against brushing your teeth right after you finish that Diet Coke. You should actually wait about an hour before brushing. Instead of acidic options, try green or black tea or chewing sugarless gum.

Another common cause of sensitive teeth is acute stress. If you grind your teeth, that can also wear away your enamel and cause those nerve endings to be exposed. If you can’t stop the grinding habit on your own, check with your dentist to get fitted for a protective mouth guard. For some people, the problem is so bad, dental work might be needed to correct the issue.

If you are constantly bleaching your teeth for that pearly white look, this might be causing your sensitivity. Check with your dentist to see if over bleaching is a problem for you.

As we age, our gums can naturally shrink and pull away from the teeth, thus exposing the roots. With no protective enamel, sensitivity is high. Have your dentist check for receding gums because it could actually be a sign of gum disease. For more serious cases, a gum graft might be the best solution. Gum disease, a build-up of plaque, can also cause the gums to recede. If left untreated, gum disease can destroy the bones that support your teeth. Dentists can deep clean below the gum line to help prevent gum disease. A cracked tooth or filling can also impact your root and cause sensitivity.

Treatment Options

Once your dentist pinpoints your specific issue, there are a variety of options to help ease your tooth pain. Your dentist might prescribe one or more of the following:

• Toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth
• Fluoride gel
• Fillings that will cover the exposed roots
• Sealants

In extremely severe cases, a root canal may be the best treatment option.

Check with Your Periodontist in Los Angeles

There are many people who have so much anxiety about the dentist that they avoid it all costs; to the detriment of their oral health. Don’t ignore tooth pain! Brush and floss at least twice a day and experts recommend seeing a dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.

If you’ve avoided the dentist for too long, don’t wait a day longer. Schedule your appointment with Dr. David S. Kao, DDS, the premier periodontist in Los Angeles, today.