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What Causes Tooth Sensitivity & How Can I Combat It?

September 17, 2017

Woman with toothache holding cheekWhen I experience dental sensitivity, I never think of that as “normal.” I’m constantly surprised how many people will put up with sensitive teeth. I’ve heard all kinds of stories from patients with dental sensitivity. When patients say things like, “I just don’t drink hot beverages,” or “I haven’t eaten ice cream in years,” I feel for them. As a dentist, I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to do more than empathize. I can help you understand the causes of dental sensitivity and get rid of this issue once and for all.

Causes of Dental Sensitivity

Before I begin treatment, we need to understand the root cause of dental sensitivity. The basic reason you experience sensitivity is that your tooth’s nerve is triggered, causing pain. I need to know why this is happening. I’ll examine your teeth for warning signs of oral health concerns that can lead to increased sensitivity. Common causes of dental sensitivity include:

  • Worn enamel is one of the main reasons why patients experience sensitivity. Teeth grinding, chronic tooth decay, and aging can all lead to thinning tooth enamel.
  • Another cause of tooth sensitivity is soft tissue recession. When the gums recede, the sensitive root structures of teeth may be accessed causing discomfort.
  • Some patients are simply born with highly sensitive dental structures. Genetic predisposition may not be avoidable, but it is treatable!
  • Severe sensitivity to changes in temperature that lingers may be a sign of root canal infection. This serious oral health issue should be treated right away, so please call us immediately.

Preventing Dental Sensitivity

As is often the case in dentistry, prevention is your best option. I recommend patients visit me at least twice a year for preventive appointments. During these visits, we will discuss any oral health issues you’re experiencing. If you notice sensitivity, I can intervene right away to restore healthy tooth function. Additionally, I can provide nightguards for teeth grinders, prescribe professional-grade fluoride toothpaste for patients who struggle with chronic tooth decay, and recommend other preventive measures to avoid dental sensitivity.

Treating Dental Sensitivity

The ways of treating dental sensitivity are as varied as the causes of this concern, but I can create a personalized treatment plan that will have you eating a popsicle in no time! Some common treatments for dental sensitivity are:

  • In-office fluoride treatment
  • At-home application of desensitizing gel
  • Restorative treatments to replace lost gum tissue or build up tooth enamel

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