Tooth sensitivity is a common problem in dentistry. It can occur due to a variety of issues, some of which are more serious than others. If you are experiencing extreme sensitivity in your teeth, it might be a symptom of a major problem that needs immediate attention from your dentist.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Sensitivity can occur due to several reasons. You could find your teeth responding to cold, heat, pressure, sweet or sour foods, or even just to breathing cold air. Sometimes sensitivity is temporary, but on other occasions it can be persistent and cause serious, long-term discomfort. Some causes of sensitivity include:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Worn enamel
- Nerve damage
- Brushing too vigorously or with a too-stiff toothbrush
Sensitivity occurs because the outer layer of the tooth, the enamel, has become thin enough to expose the dentin beneath. It can also occur when gum tissue shrinks or pulls back from the tooth roots, also exposing dentin. Without the protection of the enamel or the gum tissue, dentin can be very sensitive to different types of stimuli.
If you have recently had your teeth whitened, this can also cause some sensitivity, but it usually is not severe. Any sensitivity that causes persistent or severe discomfort should be brought to your dentist’s attention as soon as possible.
Treatment for Tooth Sensitivity
Dentistry offers several treatments for sensitivity based on the cause of the problem. Minor issues require fairly simple treatment, while more complex problems can require more extensive work. Minor sensitivity can often be treated with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Your dentist might also use an in-office fluoride treatment to reduce sensitivity.
Sometimes, the ideal treatment is to address the root cause, such as gum disease or untreated tooth decay. Dentistry offers several options to treat these conditions, depending upon their severity. You can also help prevent sensitivity from developing by brushing with an appropriately soft toothbrush, brushing and flossing regularly, and seeing your dentist for professional exams and cleanings.
If you are dealing with tooth sensitivity, contact our office at 416-922-1012 and schedule an appointment today.