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My teeth are sensitive — what should I do?

May 24, 2023

My teeth are sensitive--what should I do?

Tooth sensitivity is a common issue experienced by many. A sip of hot coffee or a bite of ice cream can unexpectedly transform into a moment of discomfort. If you’re wondering why your teeth are sensitive and what you can do about it, this blog post is for you. 

Understanding tooth sensitivity 

Tooth sensitivity, also known as dentin hypersensitivity, occurs when the tooth’s protective layers have worn down, exposing the dentin. This layer, located beneath the hard outer enamel, contains tiny channels leading to the tooth’s nerve center. When exposed, triggers like hot, cold, sweet, or acidic substances can stimulate the nerves, resulting in a sharp, sudden pain. 

Why are my teeth sensitive? 

Several factors can lead to sensitive teeth: 

  1. Tooth decay: Cavities can expose the dentin, leading to sensitivity. 
  1. Gum recession: Receding gums can leave your root surface exposed, causing sensitivity. 
  1. Enamel erosion: Acidic foods or overzealous brushing can wear down your enamel. 
  1. Teeth grinding: Grinding or clenching your teeth can also wear down enamel and cause sensitivity. 
  1. Post-dental treatment sensitivity: Procedures like teeth whitening, fillings, or crowns can temporarily make your teeth sensitive. 

Tips to manage tooth sensitivity 

Here’s what you can do to manage and prevent tooth sensitivity: 

1. Soften your brushing technique

Toothpastes designed for sensitive teeth often contain compounds that help block the transmission of pain signals from the tooth surface to the nerve. 

2. Soften your brushing technique 

Hard brushing or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can accelerate enamel erosion. Instead, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush your teeth. 

3. Limit acidic foods and drinks 

Acidic substances can gradually erode your tooth enamel. Try to limit your intake of acidic foods and beverages, like citrus fruits, wine, and carbonated drinks. 

4. Wear a mouth guard 

If you grind your teeth, consider getting a mouth guard. This device can protect your teeth from the harmful effects of grinding while you sleep. 

5. Visit your dentist regularly 

Regular dental check-ups can help detect early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or other problems that could lead to sensitivity. 

What if my teeth continue to be sensitive? 

If your sensitivity persists, it’s crucial to consult a dentist. They can identify the cause of your sensitivity and provide appropriate treatment, which may include a fluoride gel, desensitizing agents, fillings, or even a gum graft. 

Tooth sensitivity can be unpleasant, but it’s manageable with the right care and attention. By adopting preventive measures and seeking timely dental advice, you can enjoy your favorite foods and drinks without fear of pain. 

At Sinquefield Family Dentistry, we’re committed to ensuring your oral health is in top shape. If you’re experiencing persistent tooth sensitivity or have any dental concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and does not substitute professional dental advice. Always consult with your dentist for personalized advice.