For a person who has sensitive teeth, there can be great discomfort when drinking hot beverages or eating ice cream. Since the pain is very similar to a toothache, a dentist needs to determine if the patient does have sensitive teeth or is suffering from a toothache.
There are four layers to a tooth: enamel, dentin, cementum and the pulp. If the outside or enamel covering erodes, or gums recede, the tiny tubes in dentin can become exposed. When this occurs, the nerves in the tubes can become irritated and cause tooth sensitivity. Eating hot or cold foods or even exposing the teeth to cold air can cause them to be painful. Tooth sensitivity can affect one’s drinking, eating and breathing habits.
What causes Teeth Sensitivity?
There can be a number of factors contributing to sensitive teeth. Consuming too many acidic foods or beverages can increase the risk of developing tooth sensitivity. Some of the other causes may include:
- Having a dry mouth
- Bone loss
- Brushing the teeth too hard
- Acid reflux
- Teeth grinding
Any of these can contribute to the eroding of the enamel and the pulling away of the gums; and lead to exposed dentin. Avoiding acidic foods and drnks, wearing a mouth guard, and using soft-bristled toothbrush can all help protect the teeth and keep enamel from becoming worn.
Dentists can provide some options for helping desensitize teeth. There are three primary treatments they may offer to help:
- Fluoride can help restore dentin. It can be applied through fluoride products like toothpaste, tooth gel and mouthwash.
- Tooth varnish can be applied to a tooth to help protect dentin tubes and reduce or prevent the pain.
- Dentin adhesives or bonding resins can help fill in dentin tubes and cover the tooth’s surface to help reduce or stop sensitivity.