What Causes Tooth Sensitivity and What You Can Do About It
Sensitive teeth can really ruin a good cup of hot coffee or even take all of the pleasure out of that first bite of ice cream. While several things can cause tooth sensitivity, getting to the bottom of your sensitivity can help you get rid of it for good.
Teeth have several layers. The outer layer of the tooth is composed of enamel, which is known as the hardest substance in the human body. Located beneath the enamel is the dentin and is not as hard as enamel. Dentin contains small canals that lead to the nerve of the tooth and these canals transmit sensations to the nerve. The enamel then acts as a buffer, allowing the sensations to be felt as hot or cold rather than painful. When the enamel is worn, the nerve can become overly stimulated and cause hypersensitivity.
Common causes of sensitivity include:
• Worn enamel due to acid erosion or aggressive brushing
• Cavities, worn fillings or fractured teeth
• Gum disease
• Exposed tooth roots
Anti-sensitivity toothpastes can be a good option for reducing discomfort. They contain compounds that help reduce sensitivity by blocking the transmission of sensation. Fluoride gel applications are another good choice, as fluoride helps strengthen dental enamel and can protect the teeth. If the problem is due to decay, damage or gum disease, treatment to correct these problems will usually correct the sensitivity as well. We may recommend a filling, crown, dental bonding or gum graft.
A complete dental exam may be needed to identify the root cause of the sensitivity. Call us today to schedule your appointment.
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