If you have sensitive teeth, you are not alone; according to the Academy of General Dentistry, roughly 40 million American adults experience tooth sensitivity at some point or another. It is among the most common issues our patients bring to their Smithville dentist, so we know it’s important to you to get all of the information necessary to cope with this painful condition.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity occurs when your gums recede or enamel wears down, exposing the dentin (surface layer of dental tissue) underneath. The dentin contains small tubes that are connected to the pulp of your teeth, which is the center of nerves. With the dentin exposed, the irritation caused by hot or cold foods goes directly to your dental nerves, causing pain. This problem can be caused by several different factors.

  • Brushing too hard. If you brush your teeth too hard, you can wear down the enamel of your teeth, causing sensitivity.
  • Grinding your teeth. If you grind your teeth, whether while awake or sleeping, you can wear down the enamel as well.
  • Gum disease. When you have gum disease, it causes your gums to pull back, revealing the dentin underneath.
  • Acidic foods. Foods such as citrus fruits, pickles, and tomatoes are high in acid, which wears down the enamel of your teeth.
  • Tooth damage. If you have chipped or broken your teeth, bacteria can get into the pulp and cause inflammation, making your teeth sensitive.
  • Plaque. If you have a lot of plaque built up, it can cause the roots of your teeth to become sensitive.
  • Dental work. There are several dental treatments that can make your teeth temporarily sensitive, such as root planing, crown placement, and tooth restoration. This pain should go away within weeks.

As you can see, there are many potential causes of tooth sensitivity. If you have sensitive teeth, it is pertinent to speak with your dentist to determine the cause in order to successfully treat it. In our next blog, we will go over ways you can treat sensitive teeth. In the meantime, when you need a dentist in Smithville, contact Smithville Family Dentistry.