Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive Teeth

"Dentin hypersensitivity" is not uncommon. Let’s say you take a sip of hot coffee or you chew on a piece of ice, and you wince or feel an uncomfortable sensation. You have sensitive teeth.

Your teeth expand or contract when they come in contact with hot or cold substances.  As time progresses, microscopic cracks will form in your teeth that allow these sensations to seep through to the nerves. These exposed areas can cause pain and possibly change your eating, drinking and breathing habits.

There are some 45 million adults in the U.S. that suffer from sensitive teeth.

This results in the underlying layer of your teeth (the dentin) becoming exposed. It can occur on a tooth’s chewing surface or at the gum line. There are other cases where sensitive teeth are a direct result of gum disease. If you have years of unconsciously clenching or grinding your teeth, or you brush too vigorously, meaning the bristles of your toothbrush are pointing in multiple directions, you need to ease up on the pressure you apply to the brush.

Then there are abrasive toothpastes. The ingredients contained in some whitening toothpastes that lighten and/or remove certain stains from enamel, or the sodium pyrophosphate, which is the key ingredient in tartar-control toothpastes, can cause tooth sensitivity to increase.

If you’d like to avoid some of the pain associated with sensitive teeth, you might try desensitizing toothpaste, sealants, desensitizing ionization and filling materials, including fluoride. Also, decreasing the intake of acid-containing foods can alleviate this problem.

There are times a patient’s sensitive tooth could be confused with a cavity or abscess that is not yet visible.

Remember that it would be wise to contact your dentist if there’s a change in your teeth's sensitivity to temperature.