Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?

February 28, 2019

Do you feel a sharp zing after drinking a cold beverage or biting into something sweet or hot?  Do brushing and flossing make you cringe?  If so, you’re not alone.  Millions of U.S. adults suffer from sensitive teeth or dentin hypersensitivity, and it can happen to anyone.

What Causes It?

The roots of your teeth are protected by your gums, and the softer underlying dentin is protected by the enamel of your teeth.  If you have enamel erosion, cavities, gum disease or recession the dentin becomes exposed.  Since the nerve that sparks pain is connected to the dentin, there is a chain reaction when it’s triggered.  Contributing circumstances may include:

  • Plaque buildup from a lack of consistent brushing or flossing.
  • Brushing too aggressively or using a hard bristled toothbrush.
  • Older fillings may decay, leading to an accumulation of bacteria, causing acid buildup and the breakdown of enamel.
  • Tooth grinding wears enamel over time.
  • Chemical tooth whiteners or excessive use of mouthwash containing alcohol may encourage reactivity.
  • Acidic foods like pineapple, lemons, and oranges bolster the reduction of enamel.
  • Receding gums, gum disease or gingivitis caused by poor dental health or natural aging can be the culprit.

Is It Treatable?

Yes!  In some cases, you may feel relief after making changes to the foods you eat and the oral hygiene products you use.  Tooth grinding may require a custom-made mouth guard to halt the damage.  Replacing older fillings with newer and safer material may be your best option to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible.  Fluoride gel and dental sealants are available to reduce sensitivity as well.  You do not need to live with the pain.  Let us help!   If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, contact us to schedule an appointment today!