What Causes Sensitivity and How is it Treated?

Having tooth sensitivity can make it unpleasant to eat and drink certain foods and beverages or breathe in cold air. While sensitive teeth can be painful, there are several options available to reduce this discomfort at home and at the dentist office.

What Is Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity refers to a condition in which people experience sudden pain when drinking hot or cold beverages, eating certain kinds of foods or inhaling cold air through the mouth. This sensitivity can affect more than one tooth at a time.

What Causes It?

People can develop sensitive teeth for a number of reasons. In general, this sensitivity occurs when gums recede and cause the inner part of the tooth to be exposed. This inner part, known as the dentin, contains nerves and roots that experience pain. There are several underlying causes of receding gums and exposed dentin, including enamel that is worn down from harsh brushing, tooth decay, teeth grinding and gum disease. Trauma, plaque buildup and foods with a high acidic content can also lead to dentin exposure and tooth sensitivity. Certain kinds of dental work, such as root planning, can cause temporary sensitivity, although this usually goes away in a matter of weeks.

How Is Tooth Sensitivity Treated?

People with sensitive teeth can take steps at home to reduce these painful sensations, such as switching to a toothbrush with soft bristles, using toothpaste for sensitive teeth, avoiding foods and drinks with high acidic content and preventing tooth decay through regular brushing and flossing. Fluoridated mouth washes and other products can also help ease sensitivity. Dentists can also treat tooth sensitivity through various methods, including applying fluoride varnishes to exposed dentin, covering dentin with white fillings and applying dentin sealers to the exposed area. These types of treatments provide exposed dentin with protection from cold air, hot beverages and other things that can trigger painful sensations.

If you have sensitive teeth, contact Great Lakes Dental at 440-255-3111 to learn more about our services. We will work with you to help ease your tooth sensitivity using whatever treatment method is best for you.