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Tooth Sensitivity: Causes And Treatment Options


Tooth sensitivity is a common oral health problem that affects many people. It is characterized by a sharp, sudden pain in the teeth when they’re exposed to hot, cold, sweet, or sour substances. The pain can either be brief and intense, lasting only a few seconds, or more prolonged and less severe.

Understanding the causes of tooth sensitivity and the available treatment options can help you manage this condition and maintain healthy teeth and gums. On that note, let’s take a look at what teeth sensitivity is and what causes it.

Teeth Sensitivity – What Is It?

Teeth sensitivity, also known as dentin hypersensitivity, is a common dental issue that affects many people. This discomfort can be temporary or persist for a longer period, depending on the cause and severity of the issue. The sensitive part of the tooth that causes this pain is called the dentin, which is located under the enamel and the gum line.

The dentin contains tiny tubes, called dentinal tubules, that lead directly to the nerves inside the tooth. When the dentin is exposed, these tubules allow heat, cold, or sweet stimuli to reach the nerves, leading to the pain and discomfort associated with teeth sensitivity.

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What Are The Causes Of Teeth Sensitivity?

The causes of tooth sensitivity can be classified into two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic causes:

1. Wearing out of tooth enamel

Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth that protects it from damage. It may wear out due to various factors like consuming excessive sugary and acidic foods, grinding or clenching of teeth, and aging. Over time, this wear and tear can make the teeth vulnerable to cavities and sensitivity.

2. Gum recession

Gum recession refers to the loss of gum tissue that exposes more of the tooth and its root. It can be caused by several factors like aggressive brushing, periodontal disease, and genetics. This can lead to sensitivity, root decay, and tooth loss if left untreated.

3. Brushing Too Hard Or Using A Toothbrush With Hard Bristles

Brushing your teeth too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can cause damage to the gums and tooth enamel, leading to gum recession and increased sensitivity.

4. Using A Mouthwash With High Alcohol Content

Mouthwashes with high alcohol content can cause dry mouth, leading to an increased risk of cavities and gum disease. Additionally, the alcohol content can also lead to gum irritation and sensitivity.

5. Eating Acidic Foods Or Drinking Acidic Beverages

Consuming acidic foods and drinks regularly can erode the tooth enamel and increase the risk of tooth sensitivity and decay.

6. Using whitening products

Some whitening products can cause tooth sensitivity due to the presence of peroxide, which can cause damage to the enamel and gum tissue.

7. Tooth decay or cavities

Tooth decay or cavities are caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, on the teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can erode the enamel and cause holes in the teeth, known as cavities. If left untreated, cavities can progress and lead to pain, sensitivity, and the need for fillings or other dental treatments.

8. Fractured Or Chipped Teeth

Fractured or chipped teeth can occur due to a blow to the face, biting on hard objects, or other types of trauma. A fractured or chipped tooth can cause sensitivity, pain, and difficulty eating. The severity of the fracture will determine the treatment needed, which can range from a simple filling to a more extensive dental procedure, such as a dental crown.

teeth sensitivity

Intrinsic Causes:

1. Tooth Trauma Or Injury

Tooth trauma or injury can occur due to a blow to the face, a fall, or any other type of accident. This can cause damage to the tooth enamel, dentin, or pulp, leading to sensitivity, pain, and the need for dental treatment.

2. Tooth pulp exposure

The pulp is the tooth’s innermost layer that contains nerves and blood vessels. Exposure to the pulp can occur due to a deep cavity, a cracked tooth, or other types of dental procedures. This can cause sensitivity, pain, and the need for root canal therapy.

3. Tooth root exposure

The roots of the teeth are normally covered by gum tissue. However, gum disease can cause the gum tissue to recede, exposing the roots and making them sensitive.

4. Tooth resorption

Tooth resorption is a condition in which the tooth’s structure is gradually lost due to the action of cells called odontoclasts. This can result from injury, infection, or other underlying health conditions. Tooth resorption can cause pain, sensitivity, and the need for extraction.

5. Tooth infection

A tooth infection, such as an abscess, can cause sensitivity, pain, and swelling. The infection can spread to the surrounding tissues and lead to serious health problems if left untreated.

6. Dental Procedures

Dental procedures, such as tooth preparation for a dental crown, can cause sensitivity and discomfort for a short period. However, the sensitivity should subside after a few days or weeks.

7. Grinding Or Clenching Of Teeth (Bruxism)

Bruxism is the unconscious grinding or clenching of the teeth, usually during sleep. This can cause wear of the tooth enamel and gum recession, leading to sensitivity and pain. Additionally, bruxism can cause headaches, jaw pain, and damage to the temporomandibular joint.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing teeth sensitivity and wants to get it treated, then All Smiles Family Dentistry is your best option. We are among the finest dental office tarzana and have the best dentists to help you. Our wide range of services includes dental implants, dental crowns, dental veneers, and much more. Contact us today to learn more about us in detail.

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