Tooth pain and sensitivity is a complaint of many, and may be experienced for a brief time or be an ongoing problem. One of the most common questions that dentists may be asked is about what they can do to relieve the tooth sensitivity they feel in their teeth or what is causing their teeth to be so sensitive. Sensitive teeth are caused when the inner parts of your tooth become exposed. This can happen when your gums recede or when you have damage to other areas of your teeth from a cavity or other problem. Most often tooth sensitivity is noticed when eating hot or cold foods, when chewing on a specific side of the mouth, or even when eating particularly sweet things. When sensations from these actions reach the root in your tooth you feel sensitivity or pain in the tooth. Here a just a few common reasons your teeth may be sensitive:
- Recent dental cleanings or procedures might be the most common reason for temporary tooth sensitivity. It is quite normal to experience a bit of sensitivity for a few hours to a few days after having a through dental cleaning or other dental procedures performed. In cases where the sensitivity is caused by dental work this sensitivity should not last long.
- Plaque build-up can cause sensitivity and pain as well as lead to other dental problems. Some plaque build-up between dental cleanings is normal, but excessive build-up do to lack of proper dental hygiene can lead to sensitivity, pain, and tooth decay. It is important to brush your teeth and floss your teeth regularly to prevent this build-up.
- Remember however when cleaning your teeth to avoid brushing too hard, as that can also be a cause of tooth and gum sensitivity. When you brush too hard you can wear down the gum tissue surrouning the tooth thus exposing the root and causing sensitivity of your teeth.
- Cavities and other dental problems can cause pain and sensitivity of the teeth. Often sensitivity can be the first sign that you have a tooth that might have a cavity. The tooth will continue to be sensitive and continue to hurt more and more until the cavity is removed and replaced with a filling.
- Unhealthy gums can lead to many problems, tooth sensitivity and pain being just one of them. Unhealthy gums will begin to pull away from teeth exposing the root and lead to pain as well as infection. Unhealthy gums left untreated can lead to extensive tooth decay and even other health concerns.
- Just as cavities can cause sensitivity because of a damaged area of the tooth, so can cracked or broken teeth lead to pain and sensitivity. A thorough examination by the dentist will help to determine if there are areas of your teeth that have been damaged and need repair.
- Specific products you might be using on your teeth could result in sensitivity. Teeth whitening products as well as mouthwashes can eat away the enamel and cause sensitivity over time. When using these products check with your dentist for brands or specific ingredients to look for that will not cause damage.
If you experience only an occasional and mild tooth sensitivity it could be simply addressed with specialized toothpaste or better brushing and flossing. For those that have ongoing sensitivity issues, consult your dentist for a complete exam to determine if there are underlying dental problems that should be addressed.