Have you noticed that your teeth hurt when you eat something cold or drink something hot? Do they hurt when you apply any pressure? If you answered “yes” to either, you have sensitive teeth! But don’t fret – tooth sensitivity is a common occurrence for people of all ages and a dentist can help you do something about it.
What Makes My Tooth Feel Sensitive?
Our teeth are made up of multiple layers, and today we’ll be focusing on the first two layers: enamel and dentin.
Enamel is the outermost layer that protects the rest of the tooth. With improper care, enamel can erode or become too porous and it cannot be regrown or repaired. Dentin is a deeper layer that protects your pulp. It is the sensitive layer, so, whenever your tooth hurts from something that is too hot or too cold, it’s your dentin letting you know that it is exposed.
Top 5 Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
There are multiple factors that can cause teeth to become sensitive. Below, we’ve put together a list of the top causes of tooth sensitivity that we routinely see.
You’re Over-Whitening Your Teeth
Teeth whitening treatments, even those offered in professional settings, can cause teeth sensitivity. Temporary teeth sensitivity usually happens due to the products used causing microscopic pores in your enamel to open up, which is a necessity in order for the treatment to reach the dentin that is stained. It’s important to avoid hot and cold drinks, as well as food, until the pores in your enamel close.
You’re Grinding Your Teeth
Teeth grinding causes your enamel to slowly wear down which exposes your dentin. Teeth grinding, no matter if it’s in your sleep or on a daily basis, is never a good thing. With that, you should discuss wearing a mouthguard with your dentist when you schedule an appointment to go over your sensitive teeth treatment options.
You’re Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
Using abrasive materials or brushing your teeth hard may seem like they’re making your teeth cleaner, but they’re actually not helping! Why? Because doing either can cause your enamel to wear down and/or cause your gums to recede which will leave you with sensitive teeth.
You May Have Periodontal Disease
Receding gums can be caused by periodontal disease, as well as by brushing your teeth too hard. When you have untreated periodontal disease, it can cause your gums to recede and weaken the cementum. Dentin is located beneath the cementum and will cause teeth sensitivity if it is exposed.
You Might Have Cavities
When cavities first start to form, you may only experience tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking hot, cold or acidic items. However, as the cavity worsens, bacteria will eat away at your enamel which will expose (you guessed it!) your dentin. After the bacteria break through to your dentin, it can travel into the pulp which causes further tooth sensitivity, pain and tooth decay.
Although there are multiple causes for sensitive teeth, we recommend making an appointment with your New York dentist to make sure you’re getting to the root of the problem so they can prescribe the best treatment option.