What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

If you are someone who shudders at the thought of sipping a cup of coffee or eating an ice cream, rest assured you are not alone. Tooth sensitivity is one of the more common dental complaints, and there are a wide range of potential causes behind this condition. Whilst everyone experiences occasional bouts of tooth sensitivity, repeated occurrences may indicate an underlying dental health concern in need of treatment. The team at Glowing Smiles Dental have helped countless patients suffering from tooth sensitivity, enabling them to enjoy a wide and varied diet without any fear of tooth pain and discomfort. 

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

It’s important to note that tooth sensitivity is a symptom caused by worn tooth enamel or receding gums, leading to exposure of the tooth roots. Exposure to certain stimuli or the presence of an underlying dental health concern can result in people experiencing tooth sensitivity. Pain may be felt in either a single tooth or multiple teeth, and the severity can vary from mild to sharp. 

Some of the most common triggers for tooth sensitivity include:

  • Being outdoors in the cold
  • Drinking a hot cup of coffee/tea or soup
  • Eating ice cream or other frozen foods
  • Aggressive brushing or flossing
  • Tooth grinding (bruxism)

Human teeth have inbuilt protection against tooth sensitivity, as they are coated in a tough layer of enamel. Whilst enamel is very strong, it can be worn down by excessive brushing and acid attacks. This can expose the highly sensitive dentin of the tooth, resulting in the individual experiencing pain and discomfort when exposed to sudden changes in temperature or other stimuli.

It is important that you keep up to date with your annual dental visits, as this will help to ensure your teeth remain in optimal condition all year round. 

Underlying Oral Health Issues Can Also Cause Tooth Sensitivity’

People with chronic tooth sensitivity may have an underlying oral health issue. It is important to seek a professional diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible, as this will allow for the most favourable treatment outcomes. 

Some common oral health issues which cause tooth sensitivity include:

  • Chipped/Cracked Teeth – even minor chips and cracks can expose the dental pulp or dentine. If you have recently suffered a facial injury on the sports field or had an accident, you should book an appointment with your dentist. 
  • Gum Disease – people with advanced gum disease are at a greater risk of experiencing tooth sensitivity.  Inflammation causes gum tissues to pull away from the tooth, exposing the roots. 
  • Tooth Decay – cavities can expose the dentin, resulting in sharp pain and sensitivity. 

How to Minimise Tooth Sensitivity

The best way to minimise your risk of experiencing tooth sensitivity is to simply maintain good oral hygiene. This means brushing twice daily, flossing daily and visiting your dentist every 6 months for a routine check-up.

Take care when brushing. Most dentists recommend using a soft or extra soft bristle toothbrush with gentle, even strokes. This will help to maintain a healthy layer of enamel on the teeth. 

If you still experience chronic tooth sensitivity, you should book an appointment with your dentist. Once the root cause of your problem has been diagnosed, an appropriate treatment plan will be proposed. Dental treatments may include fluoride application, root canal, surgical gum grafting, fillings/crowns or bruxism management. 

Sensitive Teeth? Book an Appointment at Glowing Smiles Dental Today

Tooth sensitivity can be uncomfortable, but preventative care and professional treatment can go a long way in reducing your symptoms. Book an appointment at Glowing Smiles Dental today.