Do you dread that twinge of tooth pain that comes with your first sip of coffee in the morning? Do you avoid ice cream with your family because of sensitive teeth? At Pure Smiles Dentistry, we encourage you to investigate your tooth pain instead of choosing to live with it. While this is a very common dental complaint and not always a cause for alarm, teeth sensitivity can be a warning sign that something needs to be addressed within your smile. More importantly, a dentist can often lessen or fix this disruptive tooth pain so that you can enjoy the foods you love – despite their temperature.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity occurs because the nerves inside the tooth are irritated or inflamed in some way. There are multiple reasons why this can happen, and knowing the anatomy of your tooth can help you understand them. The outer layer of a tooth is made of enamel, which is the strongest substance in the human body. Underneath the enamel, however, is a softer dentin layer that extends down to the tooth root and has tiny pathways (tubules) that lead to the center of the tooth. The innermost part of a tooth, known as the pulp, is where the tooth nerves reside.
When the outer enamel layer of a tooth wears thin or becomes damaged, the nerve endings of the dentin are more exposed, which causes significant pain when hot, cold or acidic substances are introduced. The same disruptive reaction occurs if the root of a tooth gets exposed, such as when the gums recede.
Unfortunately, there are several factors, habits or situations that can cause the enamel to become damaged or the gums to recede, including the following:
- Aggressive brushing habits (too much force wears away enamel)
- Consuming highly acidic foods and beverages
- Tooth decay
- Worn or leaky fillings
- Broken, chipped or cracked teeth
- Gum recession (caused by gum disease)
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Excessive teeth bleaching
At Pure Smiles Dentistry, we believe that every patient deserves a comfortable and pain-free smile. If you are suffering from sensitive teeth, let our dentists investigate the cause to ensure there is not something more serious going on. Depending on the culprit of your tooth pain, we can provide a number of effective treatment options, ranging from tooth-colored fillings and bonding to periodontal therapy and more. Call our Marietta office today.