If you struggle with sensitive teeth, you know how challenging and painful it can be. Not only are you dealing with consistent discomfort, but it can also take away the joy of eating. How sad! At Mountain West Dental Specialists, we aim to help our patients navigate sensitive teeth so that they can enjoy their meals and their lives more fully.
There are many things that might cause sensitive teeth, as well as many solutions to help reduce sensitivity. We want to spend a few moments going through some of the causes, and then some treatment options depending on the cause. Keep on reading to learn more about sensitivity and how you might find some relief!
Causes of Teeth Sensitivity
Worn Tooth Enamel
When the outer layer of your tooth, called the enamel, is worn away due to improper bite or other factors, it uncovers an inner layer called dentin. Enamel can be worn away by misaligned teeth that clash with each other when biting or because of plaque and tartar eroding the enamel. Whatever the cause, when the dentin is exposed to hot or cold foods, it can stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth, causing sensitivity.
Exposed tooth roots
The roots of your teeth are made up of nerves that, when exposed, can cause extreme pain. It can be caused by receding gums, aggressive brushing, teeth grinding, chewing tobacco, injury, and more. This kind of tooth sensitivity is more extreme and will need to be dealt with at the dentist’s office right away.
Cavities are permanent holes in the enamel of your teeth caused by tooth decay. Decay comes from the bacteria in your mouth feeding on sugar and food particles, turning into plaque and tartar that eat at your tooth enamel. Because the decaying tooth is eroding your enamel, the dentin layer of your teeth is once again exposed, causing sensitivity in that area. Cavities cannot heal themselves and require a dentist’s attention to manage the pain and stabilize the decaying tooth.
If your tooth gets chipped, you may feel pain from the injury, as well as tooth sensitivity. The chip will expose more of that inner dentin of your tooth, making it sensitive to heat, cold, and other factors. This will also need to be cared for by a dentist to find a permanent solution, either with a cap or by replacing the tooth.
When Braces are Removed
Some patients experience tooth sensitivity when their braces are first removed. This might be disconcerting at first, but it typically goes away after a few days or weeks. It is caused by the enamel of the teeth adjusting after being covered by brackets for long periods of time.
Find the Problem, Then Find the Solution
If you are struggling with tooth sensitivity, and suspect any of the cases above, keep reading to hear some of the common solutions, and if they are worth discussing with your dentist or orthodontist!
Surprisingly, straight teeth aren’t only about looks! Depending on the issues, straightening your teeth might help with your sensitivity, too! Dr. Allison Tomlin knows all about helping her orthodontic patients with tooth sensitivity problems, as well as jaw and bite issues.
If you have worn enamel because of crooked teeth, or a jaw or bite problem, then orthodontics is one of the best solutions. Once your teeth and jaw are in alignment, your bite won’t cause wear and tear on your teeth enamel, helping your teeth to be healthier and more comfortable.
Straight teeth are also easier to clean, meaning less damage from plaque and tartar buildup!
Toothpaste & Fluoride
Sometimes when the enamel of the teeth is slightly worn, all it takes is a little support to help decrease sensitivity. Sensitive toothpaste and mouthwash can often help because they contain fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in your saliva that can help repair worn tooth enamel. If your teeth have significant enamel wear, an added fluoride boost can be a lifesaver.
If you try sensitive toothpaste and don’t notice much of a difference with your sensitive teeth, definitely talk to your dentist. They may discover that there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed, or they can do a special fluorite treatment that should help with the strength of your tooth enamel.
Gum Graft or Root Canal
In more serious cases where the tooth enamel or gums are severely damaged, sometimes surgical intervention is required to manage pain and keep the tooth as healthy as possible. Gum grafts and root canals are more serious interventions that your dentist like Dr. Keaton Tomlin will only consider if absolutely necessary.
Find All the Expertise You Need at Mountain West Dental Specialists
The good news is that no matter what the cause or the solution for your teeth sensitivity, you can find the support you need at Mountain West Dental Specialists! You should never be left to deal with tooth pain all on your own, so give our office a call and see if we can schedule you in for an appointment sometime soon! Find us at our location in Las Vegas, and we look forward to helping you have happier and healthier teeth.