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Tooth Sensitivity

woman-sensitive-toothTooth sensitivity is a pervasive tooth problem as it affects about 35% of people living in the United States. Tooth pain and tooth sensitivity can sometimes be confused for the other, but they have their differences.

While tooth pain is most times persistent, a sensitive tooth is always triggered by temperature, pressure, and sometimes the sweetness of a particular type of food. The body of the tooth is mostly made up of dentin; tooth sensitivity occurs when the dentin starts transmitting sensations to the nerve endings of the pulp tissue.

To better understand how this happens, we need to learn about the anatomy of the tooth.

The Anatomy of the Tooth


The tooth is made up of the enamel, which is the visible part of the tooth; under it, we have the dentin which is made up of hard calcified tissues. They cannot be seen as the enamel covers them. Towards the root of the tooth, the dentin is covered by cementum. Tooth sensitivity results when the tubules that make up the dentin gets exposed to the environment of the mouth.

Factors such as gum recession (which will result in the exposure of the root of the tooth) can also reveal the dentin. Genetic factors, periodontal infections, and vigorous brushing are possible causes of gum recession. In situations where the cementum does not entirely cover the tooth’s root, the problem can become severe.

Tooth erosion is another possible cause of tooth sensitivity. Excessive acid in the mouth will cause the decay of the tooth, and these excessive acids could be as a result of regular consumption of sodas and sports drinks. It is advisable not to brush immediately after having any of such drinks as the acid in the drinks will cause the outer surface of the teeth to soften.

Therefore, brushing at that time could cause the scraping-off of the already softened part of the teeth. It is preferable to rinse the mouth with ordinary water or wait for the saliva to neutralize the acid.

Tooth decay is another cause of tooth sensitivity. Tooth decay causes the exposure of the dentin, and also, decay itself could get to the nerves and irritate them, causing a lot of pain. Occasional dental works can also cause tooth sensitivity.

Dealing With Tooth Sensitivity

If there is only a minor irritation of the teeth, gently brushing the teeth with a soft brush could be helpful. You should, at all times, use a flouride-based toothpaste as they help strengthen the teeth and protect it against erosion and decay. There is also a special one for sensitive teeth.

If the sensitivity persists and becomes severe, then, it will be wise to visit a dental office to have your teeth checked. After examining your teeth, your dental health professional will ascertain the cause of the problem and recommend possible solutions. Tooth sensitivity could also be an indication of other dental problems, so prompt treatment of your sensitive teeth could be saving you from more problems in the future.

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, contact our offices today for a dental exam and together we can come up with a treatment plan.

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