Tooth Sensitivity: Causes and Solutions

You bite into your warm, fresh pizza. It’s amazing. You take a sip of ice water. Suddenly, that jolt hits. Your sensitive teeth have just interrupted an otherwise fabulous moment. You try to avoid very hot or very cold foods and sudden temperature changes in the foods you eat. Overly sweet foods are your nemesis. You’ve adapted to life with sensitive teeth. Maybe it’s worth taking a minute to consider what causes that uncomfortable tooth sensitivity and what you can do about it.


Tooth structure and sensitivity

To understand what happens when you feel that sensitive tooth pain, it helps to understand the structure of a tooth. The inside of your teeth, under the enamel, are made of a material called dentin. Inside the dentin are tiny, tube-like structures that lead to nerve endings. Normally, tooth enamel protects the crown, the top part, of each tooth. Lower, over the root of the tooth, a protective layer called cementum covers the dentin. Anywhere that the protective layer of the tooth, whether enamel or cementum, is missing, sensitivity can occur. The exposed nerves cause pain when they come in contact with hot, cold, acidic, or extremely sticky foods.

Other risk factors

There are some common causes for sensitive teeth. Some of these causes are mechanical. That is to say, brushing too hard can damage teeth. Likewise, grinding your teeth, especially at night, can cause sensitivity as well. Other causes of sensitivity include recessed gums, broken teeth, and worn fillings. Cavities are a definite source of sensitivity, as is worn enamel from acidic oral environments.


What can I do about my sensitive teeth?

Luckily, there are things that can be done to treat sensitive teeth. Treating sensitive teeth effectively means treating the underlying condition causing your sensitive teeth. Your dentist can help you hunt down exactly what is causing your tooth pain and make recommendations to correct it. Cavities can be filled. Broken teeth or broken fillings can be appropriately treated by your dentist.


Often, patients with sensitive teeth benefit from a fluoride gel treatment and even better yet, one that also utilized Nano Hydroxyapatite that remineralizes teeth. Strengthening weakened enamel can protect the dentin (and its exposed nerves), giving considerable relief to the weary sensitivity sufferer. Products like CariFree’s CTx4 Gel 1100 can provide better remineralization than a standard toothpaste, progressively helping alleviate sensitive tooth pain.


Focus on long-term health

There are some toothpastes on the market that attempt to treat sensitivity by using a chemical agent to make the nerves less sensitive. While it is true that these products may be an appropriate choice to treat a short term cause of sensitivity, like sensitivity caused by recent dental work, it’s important to consider a long term solution that helps solve a long term problem. It’s better to treat a root cause of sensitivity than to suffer with it or treat the basic symptoms alone.

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