Does it scare you to eat ice cream because you’ll end up with a toothache?
Do your teeth hurt when you drink your favorite hot tea?
Do you find yourself wincing whenever you chew gum?
These are signs that you may have sensitive teeth. Our dental office near Indian Land and Ballantyne can help you determine if you have sensitive teeth as well as recommend the most optimum oral care solution to help combat tooth sensitivity.
What is Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is the common term for dentin hypersensitivity. It is a sharp dental pain that abruptly happens when the root surface of the tooth responds to stimuli.
The frequency and severity of pain depends on the trigger to which the tooth is exposed. The most common trigger for tooth sensitivity is exposure to cold food, drink or climate. Other causes of dentin hypersensitivity are a result of irritation to the pulp.
Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Having sensitive teeth can be attributed to a lot of causes. Here are some factors that cause sensitive teeth:
- Thermal factors including what you drink, the food you eat and climate temperature. When your teeth are exposed to ice cold drinks or hot off-the-pot soup, this may trigger a shooting pain in your tooth. The winter season may also cause your hypersensitive dentin to act up.
- Mechanical factors such as vigorously brushing your teeth or over-flossing may irritate the pulp of your teeth and could, in turn, result in pain, inflammation and discomfort.
- Osmotic factors which includes hypertonic solutions like sugar. Too many sweets can cause tooth sensitivity.
- Chemical factors or the acid components in food or mouthwashes. Extremely sour food can cause a toothache. Some mouthwashes contain high levels of acid that may cause the thinning of your dentin, thus triggering tooth sensitivity.
Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth
Toothaches can be a sign of various dental conditions including tooth sensitivity. Individuals with sensitive teeth experience dental pain and discomfort as a result of some triggers. Here are some symptoms of having sensitive teeth:
- Momentary sensitivity to cold drinks, food and climate.
- Momentary toothache after eating or drinking something very sweet.
- Sudden sharp pain when brushing your teeth.
- Lingering pain that lasts about 30 seconds after biting or chewing on some foods.
- Shooting pain after gargling with mouthwash.
- Some may experience swollen gums.
- Others may feel a dull ache and pressure on the affected tooth and surrounding soft tissues.
Reasons Why Sensitive Teeth Are So Agonizing
When you are experiencing throbbing pain, whether momentary or lasting, it may be because you have sensitive teeth. Dental pain, triggered by dentin hypersensitivity, may cause difficulty in a day’s work. It can prevent you from eating with gusto, concentrating at work or even sleeping peacefully.
Here are the 4 reasons why sensitive teeth are so agonizing:
#1 Thinning Teeth Enamel
The thinning of the tooth enamel is a result of dental erosion. Dental erosion is the wear and tear of your tooth’s enamel and cementum. When the outermost covering of your tooth wears off due to what you eat and drink or because of your dental habits, it may compromise your dentin. This can cause an agonizing toothache.
#2 Cavities Have Reached the Dentin
Cavities or dental caries put you at risk for tooth decay. Tooth decay happens when the sugar in your drink or food reacts to the bacteria in the plaque on your teeth. This can cause a sharp shooting pain whenever your affected tooth is exposed to certain triggers.
#3 Receding Gums
Gums are soft tissues that help your teeth stay intact, however, due to some circumstances, gums may recede, hence, leaving your teeth vulnerable to tooth pain and sensitivity.
Here are some reasons why you may have receding gums:
- Gum disease or infection
- Oral care habits like over-brushing
- Sustained gum injury
#4 Cracked or Fractured Teeth
If you have a cracked or fractured tooth because of an injury, it may result in tooth sensitivity. A cracked or fractured tooth can expose the pulp of your tooth to stimuli that causes dull pain and pressure.
These are just 4 reasons why sensitive teeth can be so agonizing. The level of pain you experience when you have sensitive teeth varies from mild to severe shooting pain coupled with pressure and discomfort. However, you do not have to suffer anymore. Dentin hypersensitivity can be treated and prevented.
How to Reduce and Prevent Sensitive Teeth
Now that you know what is causing that sharp, sudden dental pain, you do not have to put up with the pain anymore. Here are some tips that can help you reduce and prevent tooth sensitivity:
- Avoid brushing vigorously and use soft-bristled toothbrushes.
- If you cannot avoid sweet or acidic food, remember to at least rinse your mouth with water after eating.
- Use a nightguard if you tend to grind your teeth while sleeping.
- Use fluoride-rich toothpaste or toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
- Consult your dentist about your receding gums and other dental problems that may lead to sensitive teeth.
- Regularly visit Dr. Schwartz near Indian Land and Ballantyne.
Professional Treatment for Teeth Sensitivity
Patients can prevent dentin hypersensitivity in many ways, including proper dental hygiene habits. Decreasing, if not avoiding, the intake of overly sweet or acidic foods and drinks is another way of preventing tooth sensitivity. However, if the cause of your tooth sensitivity has become constant, it is best to get a professional treatment.
Here are some oral care options that can help combat tooth sensitivity:
- Teeth cleaning at least twice a year to ensure your teeth are in top health.
- Gum grafting for naturally receding gums.
- Replacement of old dental fillings and sealants.
- Root canal therapy for infected and exposed pulp.
- Crowns and veneers for cracked or fractured teeth.
- Fluoride treatment for enamel protection.
- Use of mouth guards and night guards.
Dr. Schwartz will evaluate the extent of damage on your teeth with a digital x-ray for a cracked and fractured tooth. Once the extent of damage has been diagnosed, we will recommend the most ideal solution to save your tooth.
When signs and symptoms of tooth sensitivity start to give you discomfort, it is best to visit your trusted dental provider to help combat dental pain.