Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Tooth sensitivity is one of the biggest complaints dentists in St Petersburg get from their patients. Sensitive teeth make eating uncomfortable and brushing painful.
There are effective treatments for tooth sensitivity, but it’s important to know what’s causing the problem. That way, your dentist can recommend the appropriate course of treatment.
Here’s a look at some of the most common causes of sensitive teeth.
Forceful brushing. Tooth sensitivity can follow brushing with too much force or with a hard-bristled brush. These actions will break down the outer layer of your teeth and open tiny tubules that lead to your tooth’s nerves. Hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods reach the tubules, resulting in pain. Switching to a softer brush or holding the brush like a pencil may help. Read more about the importance of selecting the right toothbrush here.
Teeth grinding. Grinding and clenching will wear down tooth enamel. You’ll expose the dentin which contains the hollow tubules that lead to nerves. Your St. Petersburg dentist can fabricate a customized mouth guard to lessen future damage from grinding and clenching.
Whitening toothpaste. Some people are sensitive to the chemicals in whitening toothpaste. You might consider switching to another kind if your teeth have become sensitive.
Mouthwash. Some mouthwashes contain alcohol and other chemicals that can cause your teeth to be more sensitive, especially if the dentin is exposed. Try neutral fluoride rinses or just stick with flossing and brushing.
Gum changes. As you get older, your gums will recede which can expose more of your tooth, leading to tooth sensitivity. Your gums may also recede due to gum disease or gingivitis. A treatment to seal your teeth and treatment of gum disease may help.
Excessive plaque. Plaque buildup can cause tooth enamel to erode. As enamel decreases, tooth sensitivity increases. Good oral hygiene and regular visits to our general dentistry practice will keep plaque at bay. Fluoride may be recommended to re-mineralize eroded enamel.
Dental procedures. After a dental procedure like a root canal, extraction, filling or crown, your teeth may be more sensitive. The sensitivity should decrease in the weeks following the procedure. If it doesn’t, call for an appointment as you could have developed an infection.
Cracked tooth. Chipped or cracked teeth can be extremely painful. After evaluating the tooth, we’ll recommend a course of treatment to alleviate your discomfort.
Old fillings. Fillings can weaken or fracture as you get older. This can cause decay around the edges of a filling where bacteria can accumulate. Acids build up and enamel breaks down which leads to tooth sensitivity. In some cases, fillings can be replaced so that your tooth sensitivity is alleviated.
If you can’t resolve your tooth sensitivity at home, please contact us for an appointment. We can diagnose the problem and recommend a treatment so you can eat and drink with less pain and discomfort.