Tooth Sensitivity: Ask the Dentist

Ask the Dentist: About Tooth Sensitivity

tooth sensitivity

This article explores tooth sensitivity and the various causes behind it, first by understanding the general anatomy of a tooth.
The dentist is frequently asked about tooth sensitivity; what causes it and what we can do to eliminate it. After all, a life without hot coffee and cold ice-cream is like a cake without the icing! Unfortunately, sensitive teeth are just one of those things that can develop in life and in order to understand what causes it, you need to have an appreciation for the anatomy of your pearly whites. The good news is that there are many ways the dentist can treat this uncomfortable and often painful affliction and it all comes down to the underlying cause. So, for your information and education, let’s explore the causes of tooth sensitivity!
The Dentist : Understanding Tooth Anatomy and Sensitivity
During your next dental exam , ask the dentist (around the cotton balls in your mouth) about tooth anatomy. The dentist will be more than happy to explain! Your entire tooth crown is protected by a very hard material called enamel. Beneath this outer shell, lies the softer and more porous dentin. This substance contains thousands of tiny little tubules that lead into the very center of the tooth: to the chamber that houses all the sensitive nerves and blood vessels. Tooth sensitivity, says the dentist , is caused when the protective enamel becomes eroded away to reveal the softer dentin beneath. So, whenever you eat something really hot, or really cold, there is nothing to protect the delicate nerves inside the tooth from being exposed to these extreme temperatures. The results? A sudden and sharp pain emanating from deep inside the tooth or teeth, and general discomfort.
Ask the Dentist : Causes of Tooth Sensitivity and Treatment
The cause of tooth sensitivity, says the dentist , can be attributed to anything that is exposing the soft dentin. This can include:
  • Cavities.
  • Physical trauma to the tooth (a crack or chip).
  • Brushing too hard.
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding).
  • A build up of plaque.
  • A diet that is high in sugar and acid.
  • Tooth decay, says the dentist , especially near the gum line.
  • Gums that are receding from the surface of the tooth, causing the roots to become exposed.
  • Certain tooth whitening products, toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain bleaching agents (peroxide).
The dentist should be able to identify the cause of your tooth sensitivity through a thorough dental exam .
Ask the Dentist : An Outlook for Tooth Sensitivity Sufferers
If your pearly whites put up a major fight every time you eat or drink anything hot or cold, then your first action should be to set up a dental exam . Once the cause of your tooth sensitivity has been ascertained, the dentist  will be able to outline a treatment plan to reduce your pain and discomfort.
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