When you have tooth sensitivity, you know it. There is no mistaking that sharp pain, that aching feeling, or the chronic discomfort. At Impressions Dental in Chandler, AZ, Dr. Brigham Baker and his team determine the cause of your pain and address it effectively and quickly to give you immediate relief.
Possible Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
You can’t always see a dental problem, which can make tooth sensitivity confusing. How can you feel such throbs and twinges when it’s impossible to identify where it’s coming from? Many of the causes of sensitive teeth aren’t visible to the naked eye – and others can only be diagnosed by an experienced dentist.
There are conscious behaviors and unconscious habits that people adopt which can lead to tooth sensitivity and sometimes there are oral health issues that develop through no fault of your own. Some of the most common reasons for tooth sensitivity include the following:
- Worn tooth enamel: Some people have naturally thin tooth enamel which increases their likelihood of developing sensitivity over time. Worn tooth enamel can also develop in patients who grind and clench their teeth.
- Gum recession: Heavy-handed toothbrushing and teeth grinding can lead to gum recession which exposes parts of the tooth that are meant to be covered by gums.
- Tooth decay: Plaque and tartar buildup comes from poor oral hygiene and eventually this lack of care will develop into cavities, especially if you don’t see your Chandler dentist regularly.
- Cracked or chipped tooth: A tooth may not be giving you any trouble with its small crack or chip but this minor damage will become a major problem later and lead to tooth sensitivity as well as infections and other oral health problems.
- Damaged filling: A filling is in your tooth to correct decay or damage. If the filling is broken, falls out, or otherwise compromised, the innermost workings of your tooth will be exposed and sensitivity will result.
- Teeth whitening: Over-the-counter teeth whitening does not always control for sensitivity. If you get this treatment but don’t do it professionally through your dentist you’re more likely to be sensitive to the bleaching agents.
- Gum disease: When gum disease advances, recession occurs too and the teeth and gums separate from each other leading to root exposure.
Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity
The inner layer of a tooth is known as the dentin. When this area is exposed, pain begins. Unless the problem is acute and you’re dealing with a badly damaged tooth, it usually takes time for this tooth pain to develop. You may notice it when you exert pressure on the exposed tooth or when you drink a hot or cold beverage.
There are many types of treatment for tooth sensitivity, but what your dentist recommends will depend on the type of problem you’re experiencing.
- Desensitizing toothpaste: There are certain types of toothpaste on the market that block the transmission of sensation from the surface of the tooth to the nerve, especially if you’re experiencing pain because of gum recession. Your dentist can make recommendations that are right for you.
- Tooth-colored filling: Damaged teeth, worn fillings, and other surface issues can be fixed with a tooth-colored filling, eliminating the sensitive area in your mouth.
- Dental bonding: A quick, minimally invasive treatment, dental bonding can be completed in one visit to your dentist and used to fill in any sensitive areas on a tooth to stop the pain from occurring.
- Root canal therapy: Some people have sensitivity because of a deep infection in their tooth. When it’s a problem that a filling cannot repair, root canal therapy is necessary and the treatment tooth is then covered with a porcelain crown.