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Learn More About Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are caused by dentin being exposed on the surface of a tooth. The exposure of the living tissue of the tooth will lead to pain whenever the tooth comes into contact with hot or cold foods and drinks.

Sensitive teeth can be a lifelong problem. Some people with sensitive teeth may experience pain just from breathing cold air through the mouth. Knowing about what causes of tooth sensitivity may help to prevent and manage the problem.

Exposure of the dentin, the softer layer of tissue underneath tooth enamel, is the major cause of tooth sensitivity. Tooth enamel can be worn away to expose the dentin to foods, drinks and air when the mouth is open. Alternatively dentin may be exposed by receeding gums.

The dentin contains numerous and tiny channels referred to as pulp. The pulp contains nerves that carry information to the brain. The nerves carry the sensations of pain and temperature from the tooth. The dentin should at all times be covered and enclosed by tooth enamel or gum.

How Dentin Is Exposed

Although, enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it is never replaced once it becomes worn out. Dentin in the tooth and the root of the tooth can become exposed through any or a combination of the following ways:

  • Abuse of over-the- counter tooth whitening products
  • Brushing your teeth too aggressively
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Cavities
  • Fractured tooth
  • Gum disease
  • Gum recession
  • Hard brushing
  • Loose fillings
  • Using the teeth as tools to pry open bottles and packages

These are but a few ways that tooth enamel may be eroded and people should be vigilant about their oral health.

The simple practice of using a tooth brush with soft bristles and desensitizing toothpaste will help control tooth sensitivity and prevent further enamel erosion.

Another way of managing tooth sensitivity is getting treated for conditions such as bruxism (tooth grinding).

Severe tooth sensitivity will require a visit to the dentist to help uncover any underlying health problems. You should not live with tooth sensitivity and pain!

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Dr Ashley Davenport BDS MFGDP(UK)

I qualified as a dentist in 1995 and can honestly say that I have been doing a job that I love for the past 20 plus years. Most people who know me well know that dentistry is a passion for me and that if I won the lottery I would still want to have some dentistry in my life. I get huge satisfaction from treating patients and making a difference to ...

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Last updated: July 13th, 2024

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