Have you ever taken a sip of your favorite coffee only to be greeted by pain in your teeth? Or maybe you took a bite of ice cream and now you feel sensitivity and discomfort? Unfortunately, at least 40 million US adults suffer from sensitive teeth. This problem can turn a long-awaited treat into a painful and unpleasant experience. So, why are your teeth sensitive? Is having sensitive teeth an emergency? Read on to discover the answers from your local dentist.
What is Tooth Sensitivity?
Your teeth have a protective layer called enamel that covers the inside, more sensitive part of your tooth called dentin. When your enamel is worn away, it exposes the sensitive part of your tooth that contains tiny nerve endings. That’s why when you take a sip of really hot or cold drinks, you may feel pain or sensitivity. Sensitivity can also occur when eating hot or cold foods, extra sweet or sour foods, or even exposure to cold air.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
There are many factors that can lead to tooth sensitivity, but once you find the cause, you can find the solution. Check out some of the most common causes of sensitivity below:
- Brushing your teeth too hard: Brushing teeth too hard or using a hard-bristled brush can wear down your enamel, which exposes dentin.
- Gum recession: When your gums recede, it exposes more sensitive parts of your teeth that were previously covered by gum tissue.
- Cracked or chipped teeth: A cracked or chipped tooth exposes dentin, which causes sensitivity. If you chip or crack your tooth, contact an emergency dentist to get the care you need. Prolonging treatment will only worsen sensitivity, and the crack or chip can develop into a more serious issue.
- Grinding teeth: Grinding teeth at night can wear down enamel, which exposes the sensitive inside of your teeth.
- Plaque buildup: Buildup of plaque causes decay that eats away at your protective enamel. Tooth sensitivity is often the first sign of having a cavity or decay.
How Can You Treat Sensitivity?
The best step you can take towards treatment is to visit your local dentist. They will be able to identify the true cause and recommend the best plan of attack to eliminate sensitivity. Treatment could be as easy as filling a decayed area or using over-the-counter sensitivity toothpaste. However, seeing your dentist early on is key because sensitivity can often turn into a dental emergency if it isn’t taken care of sooner than later.
Aren’t you tired of avoiding your favorite snacks and drinks because of the sensitivity you feel in your teeth? Contact your local dentist to get the comfort back in your smile.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Nicholas Brong is a native Minnesotan who enjoys providing quality care to his patients in Rochester. He offers a wide-range of services for a variety of dental needs at Zumbro Family Dental. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, he can be contacted through his website or by phone at (507) 288-1066 to get you the relief you need.