Do you find yourself avoiding ice cream or waiting until your coffee cools off before you sip? If you experience wincing pain when extreme temperatures hit your teeth, you are likely suffering from tooth sensitivity. Although this is a very common dental problem, it should never be ignored. In most cases, you are feeling actual nerve pain because you’ve lost some of your tooth’s natural protective layer, the enamel. Receding gums can also lead to tooth sensitivity, which can be an indicator of serious gum disease that must be addressed.
Know the Causes
There a number of causes for tooth sensitivity. Most patients feel a jolt of sharp pain when something hot or cold comes in contact with a tooth that doesn’t have an adequate amount of enamel. When the enamel wears thin, it can cause the more sensitive dentin layer to be exposed. This can be a result of acidic drinks, excessive whitening, aggressive brushing habits, tooth grinding or the natural aging process. Gum recession is another common culprit for sensitive teeth. As the gums pull away or recede, the tooth root is exposed to harsh elements. If gum disease or decay is the cause of your sensitive teeth, your dentist needs to offer treatment before your dental health is further compromised.
See Your Dentist
You may be okay with just opting out of popsicles or coffee and living with your sensitive teeth. However, you should always discuss this problem with your dentist. It may be as simple as switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and using a different toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Your dentist needs to perform the necessary evaluation and x-rays to ensure there is not something more serious going on.
Watch Your Habits
Other ways to easily improve your tooth sensitivity is to adjust your habits, including watching what you eat and drink as well as being aware of harmful dental habits. Acidic foods and drinks such as citrus fruits and carbonated beverages are a leading cause of sensitive teeth. Cutting back on these items can make a notable difference in your symptoms. In addition, avoid ice crunching and opening things with your teeth. Even tiny, imperceptible cracks in your tooth enamel can aggravate teeth sensitivity. Lastly, if you’ve got a nighttime teeth grinding habit, ask your dentist about a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
While tooth sensitivity can be a only minor concern, it could also be an early sign of a more complicated dental issue. At Bencaz Family Dentistry, we always want to know if you are experiencing any level of discomfort when it comes to your smile. With a full menu of general, restorative and cosmetic dental services, we are confident we can address your concerns and protect your smile health.