Tooth Sensitivity, Causes and Solutions

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity

Why you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity.

When you sometimes are sipping on your hot coffee, or maybe when (on those hot Summer months) you’re enjoying that deliciously refreshing popsicle, do you get a shooting type of sensitivity in your tooth? I know I have in the past. It’s not enjoyable in the least. In fact, some have said to me that they can’t even enjoy some of their favorite foods because of this sensitivity in their teeth. When you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, there are several factors that could be at play.

These possible causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Tooth decay (cavities or “dental carries”)
  • Fractures in your teeth
  • Worn out fillings
  • Gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis)
  • Worn down tooth enamel (the “protector” of your teeth and the hardest tissue of the body)
  • Tooth root exposed

Now, that’s a pretty expansive array of “could be’s.” It is also possible that there is a combination of more than one. For instance, if you have micro-fractures in your tooth enamel, it makes it that much easier for bacteria and food to wreak havoc on the rest of the tooth, this will inevitably result in tooth sensitivity, if left unchecked. I also mentioned above that worn down tooth enamel can contribute to tooth sensitivity. This is because, the enamel (being the hardest tissue of the human body) is protecting the softer part of the tooth known as “dentin.” The dentin is the last layer before the actual chamber that holds the nerves of the tooth. So, when the enamel is worn down, it doesn’t have that thick, strong, outer layer to protect the nerve, which will of course, contribute to tooth sensitivity. If your tooth is fractured, the fix is usually not too complex. The dentist may decide to put a protective crown over the tooth in order to save it. This should work to eliminate the sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity could also, as mentioned, come from an exposed root of the tooth. The roots can become exposed from something called “gum recession.” Gum recession can occur because of a list of reasons. Most commonly, however, it comes from either brushing too aggressively, therefore wearing down the gums with your tooth brush and gum disease. The signs of gum recession show rather gradually and one of the first things you will notice is that the teeth around which your gum has receded start to become sensitive. This can be due to the fact that the thick enamel that you have protecting the top part of your tooth (crown) is not protecting your tooth root. This exposes the root of your tooth root and causes that tooth with the exposed root, to become sensitive to hot and cold. There are a couple of fixes, or solutions to ensuring this doesn’t happen, or repairing the damage once done. Gum grafting is an option, which is a surgery done to move soft tissue in the mouth to that part of your gums that is receding. This will again protect the tooth root. The preventative measure is to ensure that you are brushing correctly, at least two times per day, as well as flossing daily.

Worn out fillings are also another leading cause to tooth sensitivity. Those fillings were placed on your teeth at first because of decay in the enamel and other parts of the tooth. When the filling that is protecting that tooth and that is filling the cavity becomes worn, or breaks down, or cracks, it leaves your tooth open to the hot and cold food and drinks that you consume throughout the day. You may have even went to the dentist in the first place to get that filling done because of tooth sensitivity. It’s an easy remedy. Just replace the filling.

Don’t be so sensitive.

Ensure you are maintaining proper oral hygiene. If you grind or clench, use a night guard. If it’s been a really long time since you got that filling done, and now it’s super sensitive, get it redone. With these preventative and corrective options for sensitivity, you don’t have to avoid those amazing foods or those amazing drinks anymore. Take care of yourself and your teeth so they don’t get so sensitive.

Stay healthy my friends.


Minovi Dental

Blogging about DC and Dentistry. Born and bred in the DC area.