4 Most Common Reasons Your Teeth Are So Sensitive
Sensitive teeth can be a major drag on your lifestyle. They can limit the range of foods you enjoy and make you dread a sudden twinge of pain every time you eat. There are a variety of different causes behind sensitive teeth and effective treatment options to address your concerns.
Common Signs of Tooth Sensitivity
Sensitive teeth show a few hallmark signs that can distinguish them from toothaches and other dental issues. Tooth sensitivity should only be an issue when a stimulus is present, typically during eating. A lasting or aching pain points to another issue.
You’re likely dealing with sensitivity if your teeth have a noticeable reaction to any of these factors:
- Hot and cold foods and drinks
- Cold air
- Biting down on food
- Sour, sweet, and acidic foods
You can experience tooth sensitivity to some or all of these factors.
Your dentist can determine the reason you feel this sensitivity, which may be due to any of these four common issues:
1. Worn Enamel
Enamel protects the inner layers of your teeth. Once that enamel begins to wear away, you can start to experience increased sensitivity. There are a variety of factors that contribute to worn enamel.
Anything acidic can wear away enamel over time. Acidic drinks such as soda and coffee or acid reflux caused by GERD can affect your enamel. Tooth decay can also impact your enamel.
Grinding or clenching your teeth can lead to serious damage to your enamel. The same is true for malocclusion, as a poorly aligned bite lets teeth rub against each other and causes premature wear.
2. Exposed Roots
Along with the visible surface above the gumline, your teeth also extend below the gumline with their roots. Those roots don’t have the same level of enamel as the tops of the teeth, so any exposure can lead to sensitive teeth.
Sensitivity is among the most prominent symptoms of exposed roots. You may also notice that a tooth or multiple teeth look visibly longer than others. Tender, swollen, or painful gums are also potential symptoms.
An exposed root can arise from a variety of factors. Gum disease can lead to receding gums that expose tooth roots. Very aggressive brushing can also damage the gums and uncover roots. Some patients have a genetic predisposition to exposed roots as well.
Cavities are small holes in the outer layer of a tooth caused by tooth decay. With less enamel protecting the tooth at that specific point, cavities can lead to significant sensitivity in that area.
Cavities can develop for some time without any noticeable symptoms. There are distinct stages of tooth decay, and you might not experience sensitivity during the early stages. By the time you notice sensitivity, you likely need a filling or even a root canal treatment for tooth pain relief.
The earliest symptoms of a cavity are brown, black, or white staining on your tooth. A physical hole begins to develop, which you may be able to see or feel with your tongue. Eventually, you will likely experience significant sensitivity when biting down with the affected tooth.
4. Cracked or Chipped Teeth
Physical damage to your teeth can cause sensitivity as well. Cracked or chipped teeth are likely to cause pain when biting down. They can also expose the interior of the tooth, causing significant sensitivity to temperature and other irritants.
Even a hairline crack that you can barely see can cause tooth sensitivity. Cracked and chipped teeth are likely to become worse over time as the damage spreads. You should seek out treatment as soon as you notice any kind of damage to your teeth.
What to Do About Your Sensitive Teeth
The right course of action for your tooth sensitivity depends on the underlying cause. Wear due to orthodontic issues likely requires orthodontic treatment, such as Invisalign. If your wear is due to grinding, you may need a nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
Cavities, exposed roots, and cracked or chipped teeth are all reasons to reach out to your dentist right away. There are effective treatment options for all of these options, and your dentist is the best person to tell you which is right for your case.
You can also take steps at home. Use an ADA-approved toothpaste for sensitivity control. You should also take a look at how you’re brushing. Aim to brush for about two minutes twice each day. More than that, or brushing too hard, can wear down the enamel. In any case, let your dentist know about your tooth sensitivity.
Find the solution for your sensitive teeth.
At Parmer Lane Family Dentistry, we can carefully evaluate your teeth to determine what’s behind your tooth pain. With a comprehensive range of treatment options, we can treat the underlying issues and provide relief. Book an appointment with your family dental office in Austin today to find out how we can offer exceptional care for your smile.