Do You Have Sensitive Teeth?

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sensitive teethDo your teeth hurt when you eat cold or food? If so, you may be suffering from a sensitivity condition. This is very common, but can be very aggravating and annoying when you are trying to enjoy a meal. There are many reasons why people develop sensitive teeth (genetics, poor dental habits, etc.), but the good news is that there a number of ways that you can treat the problem. The quickest way to tell whether you indeed have sensitive teeth is to do a test; take a drink of a very cold liquid. If you experience a shocking sensation that quickly pulsates through your mouth, you likely are a victim.

It is important to note that while most people who have sensitive teeth are completely healthy (save for the mild discomfort that comes along with chomping on certain foods); harmful factors like tooth decay and other oral diseases can not and should not be ruled out. Be sure to consult with your dentist as quickly as possible if you suspect something may be wrong. They will be able to determine what the underlying causes are, in addition to being able to recommend a comprehensive treatment plan.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Although plenty of things can lead to sensitive teeth, the resulting effect is always the same. When the dentin (layer beneath the enamel) in your teeth becomes exposed, the nerve endings it covers are not adequately shielded from the stimuli they are forced to be in contact with. This does not just consist of hot or cold food either, as sweet and sour sensations can have just as powerful of an effect on the nerves. That being said, the dentin is often exposed due to rough or excessive brushing (hard-bristled tooth brushes are not recommended), tooth decay, oral trauma, teeth grinding and by using some types of teeth whitening products. Although the latter are very effective at brightening your smile, the downside is that the corrosive bleaching agents can also eat away at tooth enamel and also cause your gums to recede. Poor oral hygiene is also a key contributor to sensitive teeth, as the buildup of plaque and bacteria will also destroy enamel over time.

How Are Sensitive Teeth Treated?

Once tooth enamel is gone, it is gone forever; as you might expect, the best way to treat sensitive teeth is to strengthen the enamel that is still left. Using specialized toothpastes for this purpose is a good start, as are employing a healthy oral hygiene regimen and using a toothbrush that has soft bristles. It is also wise to avoid eating certain foods that can aggravate the condition. Stop grinding your teeth if you tend to do so and see your dentist on a regular and consistent basis.

Brian Harris

Dr. Brian Harris completed his undergraduate schooling at Arizona State University and attended the University of Pacific School of Dentistry. He joined Harris Dental in 2005 and in 2007 Dr. Brian was honored as Young Dentist of the Year by the Crown Council.

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