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Tooth Sensitivity: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Woman wincing in pain from eating ice cream.
Tooth sensitivity is a common dental issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s characteri[z]ed by a sharp, sudden pain in response to stimuli such as hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages. Do you have sensitive teeth? Here are a few common causes and treatments that could help.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity occurs when the protective layers of the tooth (enamel and cementum) wear away, exposing the underlying dentin. Dentin contains microscopic tubules filled with nerve endings, which become sensitive to external stimuli when exposed. Common causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Enamel erosion due to acidic foods and drinks, aggressive brushing, or teeth grinding
  • Gum recession, which exposes the tooth roots
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Dental procedures, such as tooth whitening or fillings
  • Tooth decay or cavities

Prevention and Minimi[z]ing Discomfort

To prevent tooth sensitivity and reduce discomfort, consider the following tips:

  1. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently to avoid enamel erosion and gum recession.
  2. Choose a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth, which can help block the nerve endings in exposed dentin.
  3. Avoid consuming highly acidic foods and drinks, or use a straw to minimi[z]e contact with your teeth.
  4. Wear a mouthguard at night if you grind your teeth.
  5. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.

Treatment Options for Persistent Sensitivity

If tooth sensitivity persists despite your efforts to reduce discomfort, consult our team. We may suggest one of the following treatments:

  1. Fluoride gel or varnish application to strengthen enamel and reduce sensitivity
  2. Dental bonding to cover exposed dentin or tooth roots
  3. Root canal therapy for severe cases caused by tooth decay or infection
  4. Surgical gum graft to cover exposed tooth roots if gum recession is the cause

Are you experiencing sensitive teeth? Contact our team to learn about your options today. We look forward to helping you.

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