Why Are My Teeth Sensitive and How Do I Treat Them?

Does your favorite ice cream or a spoon of hot soup make you wince with discomfort? If so, you likely have tooth sensitivity, and your trusted team at High Street Dentistry is here to help. We will determine the cause of your condition and will work to alleviate your discomfort.

What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is characterized by discomfort or pain as a response to exposure to hot or cold temperatures, sweet or acidic foods or drinks, brushing or flossing, or using alcohol-based mouthwash. The pain is usually sharp and sudden but subsides soon after removing the trigger. The symptoms may come and go for no apparent reason and may range from mild to intense.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

In a healthy tooth, a layer of enamel protects the visible portion called the crown, while a layer called cementum covers the tooth root. Underneath the enamel and cementum is a layer called dentin with microscopic channels leading to the nerves known as tubules. Tooth sensitivity typically occurs when the dentin becomes exposed due to decay, cavities, cracks, fractures, damaged fillings, worn enamel, or gum recession.

Factors contributing to tooth sensitivity include vigorous brushing, using a hard-bristled toothbrush, tooth grinding and clenching (bruxism), repeated exposure to acidic foods and beverages, and gum disease. Some medical conditions can also result in tooth sensitivity, including gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), which exposes the teeth to stomach acids, as well as conditions that involve frequent vomiting, such as bulimia, which can result in tooth wear.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity

One of the best ways to manage tooth sensitivity is to maintain proper oral hygiene practices, including flossing and gentle brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You may want to use desensitizing toothpaste to help alleviate any discomfort.

If underlying health conditions are causing tooth sensitivity, we may refer you to your healthcare provider. If, however, your teeth are decayed, cracked, or damaged, restorative dentistry treatments, including fillings and crowns, can help. Moreover, in-office fluoride treatment can strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce your discomfort.

Additional treatments, depending on the cause of tooth sensitivity, include bonding resin to exposed root surfaces, custom mouthguards to prevent damage from grinding and clenching, and a gum graft to protect exposed tooth roots and reduce sensitivity. If the condition is severe and persistent, you may require root canal therapy, which is the most effective treatment for eliminating tooth sensitivity.

Quality Dentistry Near Me

Visit High Street Dentistry in Jefferson City, MO, to learn more about managing your tooth sensitivity. We are committed to providing care and service that exceed your expectations. Call us and schedule your appointment today!