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Why Are My Teeth Sensitive & What Can I Do About It?

August 10, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — castleberry @ 7:49 pm
Woman with ice cream and toothache because of sensitive teeth

Are you avoiding your favorite warm beverages or cold snacks because you know they’ll make your teeth hurt? Tooth sensitivity is a unique type of toothache that impacts nearly 40 million adults in the US alone. Not only is this uncomfortable sensation distracting and inhibiting, but untreated sensitive teeth can sometimes lead to a dental emergency. Read on to learn what might be causing that pain in your smile and what you can do to get your oral health back on track.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Did you know that your enamel is the hardest material in your body, even harder than your bones? However, it isn’t indestructible. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel becomes compromised and the delicate layers underneath are exposed. Additionally, your teeth may also feel sensitive if the roots are revealed, since they don’t have a protective layer of enamel. Tooth sensitivity is typically caused by:

  • Cavities or tooth decay
  • Cracked or chipped teeth, fillings, or dental crowns
  • Weakened enamel
  • Periodontal disease and gum recession
  • Infected tooth pulp or dental abscess

When Should I See My Dentist for Sensitive Teeth?

Any discomfort in your smile should be brought to your dentist’s attention right away. While tooth sensitivity doesn’t usually require urgent dental care, it should be addressed right away. Only your dentist will be able to determine the underlying cause and the best way to treat it.

Since the inner layers of your teeth may be exposed to bacteria, keep a lookout for signs of infection. If your tooth sensitivity seems to be getting worse, you notice a small bump on your gums, there’s swelling in your mouth or jaw, it becomes painful to chew, or you develop a fever and fatigue, you should call your dentist right away. These symptoms are usually associated with a severely infected tooth, which needs to be treated as soon as possible to keep your smile healthy and intact.  

How Is Tooth Sensitivity Treated?

The best way to treat your tooth sensitivity will depend on what’s causing it, so you’ll need to visit your dentist. They may suggest:

  • Specialized dental products: Toothbrushes with ultra-soft bristles, desensitizing toothpastes, and fluoridated mouthwashes may be enough to treat your tooth sensitivity at home.
  • Breaking bad habits: Your dentist may recommend you break bad habits that have worn down your enamel, such as overzealous toothbrushing, teeth grinding, eating too many acidic foods, or chewing on hard objects like pen caps, ice, or your fingernails.
  • Preventive or restorative services: To strengthen or repair your enamel, you may need a filling, dental crown, fluoride treatment, direct bonding, or a custom night guard.
  • Professional dental treatments: If you have gum disease or a dental infection, you may need a more extensive treatment such as a root canal or periodontal therapy.

A small problem like tooth sensitivity can have a large impact on your quality of life. If you have sensitive teeth, it’s time to talk to your Houston dentist about what you can do to get back to enjoying your happy, healthy, pain-free smile!

About the Author

Dr. Darrick Castleberry is proud to serve his hometown of Houston, TX and the surrounding communities with excellent dental care. Before opening his private practice, he was an Amphibious Special Operation’s Dentist with the United States Marines. As he maintained the oral health of over 3,000 Marines and sailors, he earned the nickname “Dr. Painless”—a moniker some patients still use to this day! He overs a wide variety of treatments for all ages that can help you achieve optimal oral health and a comfortable smile. If you have sensitive teeth, don’t hesitate to contact him via his website or at (281) 320-9600.

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