Causes and Treatments of Tooth Sensitivity

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Causes and Treatments of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be an indicator of an oral health issue and should not be left untreated. Studies show that half of the American population suffers from tooth sensitivity, especially in early adulthood.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

The leading causes of tooth sensitivity are as follows:

  • Hard Brushing – brushing too hard with a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down the protective layers of the teeth and make the teeth susceptible to sensitivity.
  • Acidic Foods/Beverages – foods that contain high acidic levels, such as certain fruits, pickles, and red wines, create pathways to the nerves inside the teeth that lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • Teeth Grinding – when individuals grind their teeth consciously or while they’re sleeping, they’re wearing down their tooth enamel, which eventually exposes the dentin layer. The dentin layer is composed of hollow tubes that connect with the pulp, or center of the tooth, that contains the tooth’s nerve and blood supply. Therefore, exposing this layer could lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • Whitening Toothpastes and Mouthwashes – there are some whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes that can cause tooth sensitivity due to the alcohol and other chemicals contained in these products.
  • Cracked Teeth – when the dentin layer exposes the nerve endings to air or different temperatures, this can lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • Worn Fillings – if decay is left untreated, bacteria will eventually enter the hollow tubes and reach the nerves and cells inside of the tooth, which causes intense discomfort.

Preventative Methods for Tooth Sensitivity

The most effective way to prevent tooth sensitivity is to maintain a healthy oral hygiene regimen. Otherwise, bacteria will build up around and between the teeth, which then hardens and turns into calculus, and eventually leads to gum recession. Teeth are more susceptible to sensitivity when the gums recede. Refraining and eliminating tobacco use will also help prevent receding gum lines that could lead to tooth sensitivity.   

Causes and Treatments of Tooth SensitivityA great oral hygiene method to follow is to brush the teeth gently twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Replacing one’s toothbrush every three or fourth months is necessary to maintain effective cleaning. If they’re not replaced when the bristles are frayed, then the teeth won’t be thoroughly cleaned, which will irritate the gums.

Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity

The best way to treat tooth sensitivity is to see a dentist because he or she will be able to identify what’s causing the sensitivity and treat accordingly. Some dentists may suggest a desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds designed to prevent the irritants from causing discomfort. Dentists may also recommend alternating mouth rinses that are too high in acid to decrease sensitivity. There are also in-office treatments available, such as fluoride gel treatments that strengthen tooth enamel.

Other options include fillings, crowns, inlays, bonding, or desensitizing agents, which are all used to fix the teeth that have been exposed due to gum recession. Some individuals may require a surgical procedure, such as a gingival graft or a gum graft to replace the receding tissue. The other option dentists may offer is a root canal if an individual’s sensitivity is severe.

San Diego Family & General Dentistry

At McBride Dental, we offer dental cleanings and exams, dental bridges and crowns, gum disease treatment, implant dentistry, implant dentures, and preventative dentistry. Several of our general and family dental procedures can help prevent and treat tooth sensitivity. We evaluate our clients and suggest a variety of treatments that best suit their needs. If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a dentist office, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment today.

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