Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

What Causes Sensitive Teeth? September 27, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:07 pm

Sensitive teeth happen when the dentin inside the tooth becomes exposed, such as from receding gums or thinning enamel. The dentin contains pores, like tubes that run to the nerve in the center of the tooth. This means that things like cold beverages, hot beverages, acidic and sweet foods can easily stimulate a pain response. Things that may lead to sensitive teeth include:
•    Brushing too hard. Using a hard–bristled brush or brushing too hard or incorrectly can wear down enamel and expose the dentin. It can even cause receding gums, exposing the tooth root and opening the door to the nerves of the teeth.
•    Enamel erosion. Brushing too hard can contribute to erosion. Using abrasive tooth pastes such as “whitening” toothpastes, and acid consumption -too many acidic foods and drinks- can also weaken enamel and contribute to enamel erosion.
•    Receding gums. As mentioned above, receding gums can be caused by brushing too hard, but it can also be caused by periodontal disease as a result of continuous improper dental hygiene, or sometimes have other causes such as orthodontia.
•    Gingivitis. Inflamed and sore gums can expose the root surface of the tooth, providing a direct route to the nerve.
•    Cavities. Tooth decay that is deep enough into the dentin or that occurs near the gum line commonly results in sensitivity.
•    Cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. Broken or cracked teeth harbor bacteria that can make their way to the tooth pulp and result in inflammation, pain, and sensitivity.
•    Bleaching. Teeth whitening products have a reputation for causing temporary sensitivity in many people.
•    Bruxism. Grinding or clenching your teeth can wear away enamel, exposing underlying dentin.
•    Dental procedures. Temporary sensitivity can occur following procedures such as a cleaning or root planing, or crowns and other restorations. It usually goes away in 4 to 6 weeks.
Sensitive teeth can usually be managed by using specially formulated toothpastes or other products help block the signal to the nerve so it is less easily stimulated. You can reduce the chances of developing sensitive teeth by maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine: brush properly with a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently but thoroughly, with focus along the gum line at a 45-degree angle for two minutes twice a day… floss at least once per day, use a “c” shape and go all the way up and down each side of each tooth. Also, avoid abrasives like so-called “whitening” toothpastes, just use a regular fluoride toothpaste. Keep up with your dental check ups and cleanings every 6 months, and wear a bite guard regularly. Try to limit acidic foods and beverages.
If you have been experiencing tooth sensitivity, give us a call at Mall of Georgia Dentistry. There are a variety of products we can discuss with you that might help your situation and get you smiling again!

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