What are Sensitive Teeth?
Sensitive teeth are teeth where the nerves endings are under-protected which happens when the enamel, that covers your teeth, gets thinner, offering less protection to the dentin, which is the hard, dense, bony tissue that forms the bulk of a tooth beneath the enamel, that covers the nerve. Sensitive teeth can also be caused by receding gums (the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth) that eventually recede so much that the dentin becomes exposed.
What are the Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth?
People with sensitive teeth usually tend to feel a sudden and sharp pain that often goes deep into the nerve endings of their teeth when they eat hot and cold foods or drink hot and cold drinks; when they eat sweet and sour or acidic foods or just by breathing cold air.
What Causes "All of a Sudden" Sensitive Teeth?
One cause of "all of a sudden" sensitive teeth is recent routine dental procedures. Sensitivity may occur following teeth cleaning, root planing, crown placement and tooth restoration. This sensitivity is typically temporary, often subsiding within a few weeks to a month and a half; another cause might be chipped or broken teeth that fill with bacteria from plaque, causing inflammation and sensitivity; also, tooth decay near the gum line and gum disease known as gingivitis may expose the root surface that leads directly to the nerve of the tooth causing sensitivity.
What are Causes of "Long-Term" Sensitive Teeth?
The fact is that sensitive teeth normally don't become sensitive "all of a sudden", but rather, become sensitive gradually, over time. Here are some possible contributing factors:
• Brushing your teeth too long
• Brushing your teeth too hard
• Brushing your teeth with a hard-bristled brush
• Not flossing properly
• Eating too many acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, etc.
• Drinking too many acidic drinks like fruit juice, pop, tea, etc.
• Long-term use of teeth-whitening products
• Long-term use of mouthwashes that contain acids
• Grinding your teeth
What can I do to Reduce the Possibility of Tooth Sensitivity?
The following are some steps that you can take that might possibly prevent tooth sensitivity:
• Be careful not to brush your teeth too long or too hard
• Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush
• Floss properly to avoid a buildup of plaque on the root surfaces
• Avoid eating too many acidic foods
• Don't drink too many acidic drinks
• Use fluoridated dental products
• Wear a mouth guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth
• Visit your dentist regularly
How can I Relieve Sensitive Teeth?
Regular use of desensitizing toothpaste will help to relieve the pain and after continued use you should notice a decrease in sensitivity.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
One of the best ways to ensure that your teeth stay their healthiest is to get professional oral hygiene instructions from your dentist and teeth cleaning approximately every 6 months.