Does a sweet treat set your teeth on edge? Does a scoop of ice cream put you in tears? Does breathing cold air give your teeth a jolt? If eating hot, cold, sour, or sweet food cause pain, you may have sensitive teeth. Some patients even experience occasional pain when brushing their teeth.

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients. There are several common causes of tooth sensitivity, such as: tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn filings, gum disease, worn tooth enamel, receding gums, exposed tooth root, grinding and clenching, and home whitening kits. Other causes can be using abrasive toothpastes and/or hard bristled toothbrushes. Brushing aggressively and in the wrong manner can also cause sensitivity.

To better understand why our teeth can become sensitive it is important to understand the anatomy of our teeth. A tooth is primarily made up of a dense bony tissue called dentin. Dentin is protected by both our gums and by a tough tissue called enamel. In fact, enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. When dentin loses its protective covering, hot or cold foods reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth causing pain.

There are several ways to treat sensitive teeth. The choice of treatment will depend on what is causing the pain.

Your dentist can determine what is causing the sensitivity. Treatments can vary from a simple change in toothpaste to a more involved treatment, such as, surgical gum grafting or root canal. Other treatments include: fluoride gel, sealants, crown, inlay, or bonding.

When you come in for a dental check-up be sure to let us know if you are experiencing any tooth sensitivity and if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine. We will evaluate and determine the cause of your sensitivity and help you choose the best treatment to get you back to pain free dental lifestyle.