Do you wince at the thought of eating ice cream? Does your morning coffee cause shooting tooth pain with every sip? Teeth sensitivity can be more than a daily disturbance; it can also be a warning sign that your oral health is compromised. Whether you encounter sensitivity occasionally or chronically, it always needs to be evaluated by a dentist. Diagnosing the cause or reason for your sensitive teeth can lead your dentist to the most appropriate course of treatment, which may be as simple as limiting your soda intake or repairing a cracked tooth.
When the enamel, or outer tooth layer, gets damaged or wears too thin, sensitivity is likely to occur. Enamel damage can occur from a variety of factors and situations. Here are seven common culprits to sensitive teeth:
#1 Aggressive Brushing. Believe it or not, plaque, food debris and bacteria don’t require scrubbing. They can be easily removed with a gentle force from your toothbrush. Aggressive brushing habits can eventually wear down your tooth enamel, and lead to unwanted sensitivity.
#2 Acidic Foods and Drinks. It is very possible that your drink is causing your sensitivity. Energy drinks, sodas and sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar and acids, a perfect recipe for enamel erosion. Once the enamel deteriorates, the nerves of your teeth are most exposed. Watching the fructose content and pH level of your favorite beverage can help prevent teeth sensitivity.
#3 Teeth Grinding. Teeth grinding (or bruxism) is another way to end up with sensitive teeth. Nighttime teeth grinding slowly but surely breaks down the enamel of your teeth, which leaves the dentin layer more exposed. Dentin is not only yellow in color, but it contains tiny holes or pathways that lead to your tooth nerves.
#4 Overuse of Teeth Whitening Products. It may be that you need to back off in using your teeth whitening toothpaste or over-the-counter bleaching kit. These contain reactive ingredients that can be too strong for your tooth enamel if used too often or for too long.
#5 Gum Disease. A more serious culprit to your sensitive smile is periodontal disease. Gum disease is an infection and irritation within the soft tissues that support your teeth. Once the gums recede or pull away from the tooth roots, sensitive can occur. In this case, periodontal treatment is necessary to relieve your discomfort and save your oral health.
#6 Decay. Not all cavities will produce symptoms. However, if an area of decay becomes advanced, the tooth nerves may be invaded. This may warrant the need for root canal therapy.
#7 Cracked Tooth. Did you know that you may have a tiny crack in your tooth and not even see it? Inconspicuous tooth damage is a common source of tooth pain, especially if the pain is shooting or severe when you bite down or encounter extreme temperatures.
At Riverwood Dental, we believe that a healthy smile is a comfortable smile. If you are suffering from teeth sensitivity, we can help. Our Atlanta dental office offers a full menu of treatments for painful or sensitive teeth. Your relief starts with a visit to our office so that we can determine the specific cause of your sensitive smile.