The majority of us have experienced tooth sensitivity at some point or another. The sharp, searing tooth pain experienced when drinking hot or cold beverages, or breathing in cold air can occur constantly or intermittently. In any case, it can be quite uncomfortable and possibly a sign of a serious dental issue.
The trusted dentists at Northfield Dental Group regularly meet with individuals with tooth sensitivity. Here, our team reveals common causes of tooth sensitivity and what to do if you are experiencing it.
Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity is a result of natural tooth enamel wearing down over time. As enamel wears down, dentin, the deeper layer of tooth structure, gets exposed. Dentin contains tiny tubes that, when exposed to air, can cause sensitivity. Enamel loss can have several causes, including:
- Acidic or sugary diet
- Brushing too hard
- Gum disease and recession
- Bruxism (chronic tooth grinding and clenching)
- Frequent use of teeth whitening products
- Chronic acid reflux
- Eating disorders (e.g., bulimia)
- Dental treatments that remove tooth structure (e.g., fillings, dental crowns, root canal)
Steps You Can Take to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
The best solution for tooth sensitivity depends on the cause. Sensitivity caused by dental treatment is usually temporary and resolves on its own. If it doesn’t, contact your dentist immediately.
If you experience chronic sensitivity, the first thing you should do is avoid or limit sugary, acidic, hot or cold foods and drinks that you are aware cause your teeth to become sensitive. Desensitizing toothpastes are also available. It’s also a good idea to revisit your brushing habits. Brush your teeth twice a day using gentle, tooth-wide strokes. Brushing too hard and too often can irritate the gums and wear out tooth enamel, possibly leading to sensitivity.
If tooth sensitivity persists or is severe for more than one to two days, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away. It could be that your tooth sensitivity is a symptom of a dental issue like a cavity or abscess. If this is the case, your dentist can treat it right away.
To discuss tooth sensitivity or another dental issue with an experienced dentist, contact Northfield Dental Group. Call our West Orange office at (973) 736-0111 or email us today.