A girl with tooth sensitivity

Does the thought of eating something cold give you pause because you know it will cause discomfort? If so, it sounds like you may have tooth sensitivity – an extremely common condition. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 40 million adults in the U.S. have had to deal with sensitive teeth at one point or another.

What is Tooth Sensitivity and What Causes it?

Your teeth are made up of a substance called dentin, which is filled with tiny nerve endings that are protected by hard enamel and a material called cementum. When the protective enamel or cementum becomes worn down, or if your gums have receded, those nerve endings are exposed to everything you put in your mouth.

Tooth sensitivity can actually be caused by several different types of underlying issues; only a visit to your dentist can help you know for sure why you experience discomfort when eating or drinking cold. Some of the things that can lead to tooth sensitivity include:

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth while you’re sleeping
  • Receding gums, leaving your roots exposed
  • Consuming highly acidic foods or beverages over time, which can erode your teeth
  • Brushing your teeth too aggressively or using a hard toothbrush
  • Tooth decay
  • Broken teeth
  • Leaky fillings

An Ounce of Prevention…

To prevent further sensitivity issues, be conscious of how you are brushing your teeth and don’t use a hard toothbrush. Dealing with tooth decay, broken teeth or old fillings can also help limit further sensitivity.

Being more conscious of what you are eating and drinking can help too; avoid acidic foods, sodas and high-sugar snacks which can be tough on your teeth.

Tooth Sensitivity Treatment

The first step in treating tooth sensitivity is having a discussion with your dentist about your pain. He or she will examine your teeth and gums to determine what tooth sensitivity treatment options might be available.

If grinding your teeth at night is contributing to your sensitivity, your dentist will discuss ways to address grinding – this may include wearing a dental device while you sleep.
When tooth sensitivity comes from gum loss, you may be a candidate for a gum graft performed by a periodontist.

Sometimes, there is no obvious cause for tooth sensitivity. In those cases, your dentist may still be able to help. Using a fluoride gel applied during an in-office visit can help strengthen the enamel on your teeth. Your dentist may also apply sealants, recommend fillings or root canals for more serious cases.

Finally, there are also several over-the-counter toothpastes on the market, designed specifically for people with sensitive teeth.

Kennedy Dental Can Help

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, you owe it to yourself to find out why and to treat the cause. Over the past 50 years, the experienced professionals at Kennedy Dental Group have helped many patients get relief – we can help you too.

Kennedy Dental Group located in Chapel Hill, NC, has been providing dental treatment and preventative care to their clients since 1967. Call Kennedy Dental at (919) 967-9291 to schedule an appointment today.