Although spring hasn’t quite arrived for us here in Torrington, Ct, we’re sure that many of our readers are looking forward to warmer weather. Unfortunately, we know that many of our patients won’t enjoy tasty cold treats on a warm spring day due to their tooth sensitivity. If you avoid hot or cold foods and beverages because of sensitive teeth, you’re not alone. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry estimates that 40 million adults in the Unites States experience tooth sensitivity. This painful and inconvenient condition can affect your daily life and is typically a sign of much bigger oral health issues. Experiencing tooth sensitivity can indicate a weakened enamel, which then puts you at risk for problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss.
Fortunately, modern techniques in dentistry allow for patients to restore missing teeth with options like dental implants. Dental implants give patients a stable and natural-looking smile that can last for years. While these options are great for patients dealing with tooth loss, we also believe it’s important to practice preventative measure to avoid this oral health problem to begin with. To explain more about tooth sensitivity, Dr. Kuzmin shares the causes and solutions for this common oral health condition.
Before we get into the actual cases of tooth sensitivity, we want to briefly go over the anatomy of a tooth to better explain how sensitivity can occur. To keep this explanation brief, we’re just going to break the tooth down to three main parts — the enamel, dentin, and pulp.
Enamel: The enamel, or the outer layer of the tooth, is the strongest material in the human body. This is a crucial part of the tooth because it protect the inner layers from the daily wear-and-tear we put on them as we bite and chew. Despite how strong enamel is, it is also a highly mineralized material that is subject to demineralization, also known as enamel erosion.
Dentin: Underneath the layer of enamel lies the dentin. This is another shield for the inner layer of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located. The dentin is not as strong as enamel so once bacteria get past the enamel, tooth decay will progress more rapidly.
Pulp: The pulp is the very inner layer of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located. Once bacteria reach the pulp, you will experience sensitivity. An infected tooth pulp will often require a root canal to save the tooth.
As our explanation of tooth anatomy suggests, hypersensitive teeth can be attributed to exposed nerves in the teeth. Without the dentin or enamel to protect the inner layer, patients will end up being sensitive to hot, cold, acidic, or sugary drinks and foods.
Enamel erosion that causes sensitive teeth can be caused by a variety of things. Some of these common causes can include:
Treating your tooth sensitivity can entail a few different solutions. It’s best to determine the specific cause of your sensitivity in order to find your solution. Here’s a quick look at some of the best ways to handle your sensitive teeth:
Use Desensitizing Products: There are certain types of toothpaste you can use to help deal with your tooth sensitivity. You may even want to look into different sealants and fill materials to have your dentist apply.
Use a Mouthguard: If you believe tooth grinding or clenching is the source of your sensitivity, look into using a mouthguard. In many instances, patients end up grinding or clenching their teeth in their sleep. Using a mouthguard will help protect harming your teeth any more.
Look at Your Habits: If you tend to brush too hard or use a hard-bristled toothbrush, these habits can wear away at your teeth over time. It’s important to take the time to look at your habits in order to appropriately address them. This can include solutions like using a soft-bristled toothbrush or using an electric toothbrush if you tend to apply too much pressure while brushing.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons you can experience tooth sensitivity. In most cases, sensitive teeth can indicate more serious oral health concerns. If you’re currently dealing with untreated tooth loss, consider dental implants to give you a healthy, complete smile. Dental implants can give patients a long-lasting restoration that restores their ability to chew, speak, and smile comfortably. To get started with your dental implant journey, contact our office to schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Kuzmin.