Brushing your teeth, drinking a cold glass of water, or enjoying some ice cream should not cause you to cringe in pain. If it does, you may have tooth sensitivity. This uncomfortable problem may require you to take additional precautions, and may need to be evaluated by your dentist. Read on to discover some of the leading reasons for tooth sensitivity.
- You’re brushing too hard. Your teeth have a hard outer coating of enamel. Though very durable, enamel can be worn down by a number of factors, such as acid from carbonated beverages, sugar residue, and, yes, by your toothbrush. To protect your teeth, use gentle motions, a soft-bristled brush, and a non-abrasive toothpaste.
- Teeth grinding. Called bruxism, the grinding and clenching that often occurs when we sleep can cause a number of issues. The constant, excessive force that may continue for hours throughout the night stresses tooth structure, including nerves and roots. Your dentist can fabricate a comfortable mouth guard to blunt the force of bruxism.
- Tooth damage. Sometimes, sensitivity is a warning sign that a tooth has been cracked or chipped. Injury to the outer layer of enamel leaves nerves more exposed than they should be. Closer to the surface, nerves will respond more intensely to temperature changes and possibly even physical touch.
- Bacteria around restorations. Old amalgam fillings are notorious for losing their tight seal against enamel. This is because the metal in these fillings moves more than enamel when subjected to heat and cold. If the borders of a restoration are compromised, bacteria can enter, causing erosion and decay that leads to sensitivity, or worse, further damage.
- There are several benefits to gargling, but it is necessary to use suitable products that contain gentle ingredients. Alcohol and other chemicals in mouthwash may irritate teeth.
If you experience sensitivity, even for a few days here and there, speak with your dentist. When this issue is evaluated early, you can minimize your risk of tooth damage that requires restorative care. We can help you discover the cause of sensitivity, and habits that can keep you comfortable.