If you’ve ever had the unfortunate luck of experiencing the pain of sensitive teeth, you know how uncomfortable and downright miserable the sensation can be. Tooth sensitivity ranges from minor to intense pain and signals that something is wrong with your teeth. The good news is, there are different treatments to help ease the sensitivity and prevent it from worsening down the road.
What Does Sensitivity Feel Like?
Most people “just know” when teeth pain is a result of sensitivity, but describing it can be more challenging. Sensitivity is commonly defined as a short, sharp pain that shoots down toward the gums. This pain is often instigated by exposure to hot or cold food or air. It can impact just one tooth, or many teeth at a time.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Sensitivity occurs when the gums in your mouth gradually pull back and expose the surface beneath, called dentin. Since the dentin holds the tooth’s inner parts and roots, it’s also home to thousands of tiny tubes that lead to the tooth’s nerves, called the pulp. With the dentin exposed due to receding gums, hot and cold food and air can result in extreme pain as the nerves are essentially poked and prodded.
The gums recede and expose the dentin due to many different dental care mistakes. For example, brushing too hard can erode the enamel, gum disease can inflame the gums, and teeth grinding can wear down the enamel.
How Can You Reduce Your Tooth Sensitivity?
The first and most logical step is to maintain regular brushing and flossing. Brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid eroding the gum tissue any further.
Many toothpastes are now available specifically for sensitive teeth. You can also spread a thin layer of that toothpaste overnight on the exposed root that causes you pain.
Also watch what you eat. Acidic and sweet foods often instigate sensitivity pain. If you grind your teeth, start wearing a mouth guard to prevent wearing the teeth down any further.
As always, visit your dentist every six months, or sooner if your pain is impeding on your daily life!