Tooth sensitivity: Causes and Treatment
Tooth sensitivity is common and, often, preventable. Diagnosis and treatment should start with your dentist.
The inside of a tooth is made mostly of dentin. Dentin contains microscopic tubules filled with nerve endings. Dentin is protected by tooth enamel on the portion of tooth showing above your gums, the tooth's crown, and cementum on your tooth's roots. When the dentin's protective coverings are diminished or eroded, hypersensitivity or nerve irritation occurs, exposing the nerve endings to hot, cold, acidity, air and foods.
Many things can lead to enamel or cementum erosion: brushing too hard, using a stiff bristled toothbrush, eating acidic foods, and grinding your teeth are several possibilities. Not removing plaque thoroughly can also reduce these protective layers. A cracked tooth, tooth decay and gum disease or gum recession can also lead to nerve exposure and sensitivity. Even some dental procedures can cause sensitivity temporarily (if symptoms linger, return to your dentist, as it could be a sign of infection).
Altering your habits, trying a sensitivity formulated toothpaste or wearing an occlusal guard, may be the solution. Fluoride applications can sometimes strengthen tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity. Enhanced homecare and more frequent professional cleanings can help keep tooth surfaces smooth and plaque-free. Dentin exposure may require a restoration of some kind, and in severe cases, a root canal or surgical gum graft may be necessary.
More serious conditions may be prevented by early treatment and diagnosis. End tooth sensitivity, call today for an evaluation.
Lake Grove Dental
16455 Boones Ferry Rd.
Lake Oswego, OR 97035