Sierra Oaks Dental Sacramento California | Sacramento Dentist | Sedation Dentistry
Phone | (916) 481-2000
Does ice water cause you to wince? Is a bite of ice cream shooting pain in your teeth? Does a hot cup of coffee make your teeth cry out? You’re not alone; millions of people endure tooth sensitivity. In this blog we’re going to dive deeper in to what causes temperature sensitivity.
How Our Teeth Feel
Our teeth have nerves in them. The nerve in each tooth is located inside the enamel structure of the tooth. The nerve is surrounded by pulp and blood vessels. Each tooth has microscopic tubules that run from the pulp chamber inside the tooth to the enamel on the outside of the tooth. This allows the nerve inside the tooth to feel different sensations being applied on the exterior.
Why So Sensitive?
As enamel is worn away on a tooth, the microscopic tubules become shorter and more exposed. This increases the stimulation that the nerve encounters on a regular basis. Enamel can be worn away for many reasons such as chewing hard and crunchy foods, to grinding and clenching, to brushing too hard, or using abrasive pastes. When a tooth lacks enamel structure the nerve gets a shooting jolt or shock whenever you ingest hot or cold, super sweet or sour foods.
Gum recession can also expose more microscopic tubules along the root of the tooth. The enamel of the tooth only protects the crown of the tooth structure while the gums protect the roots. Causes of gum recession are grinding, periodontitis, and improper brushing to name a few. As to be expected, a chipped tooth, a broken tooth, or a cavity can also increase sensitivity.
How To Protect Your Teeth
All hope is not lost. You can combat tooth sensitivity on a regular basis and get back to eating ice cream and drinking coffee.
By switching from a standard toothbrush to a soft bristle toothbrush you can reduce enamel erosion and gum recession. Changing your diet to reduce sugary and acidic foods and drinks as well as eating more calcium-based foods can improve enamel health. Also, you can ask your dentist about toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
We Can Help Too!
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is the number one defense against tooth sensitivity. Keeping up with routine dentist visits to have your teeth cleaned and have necessary restorative treatment is imperative. If you experience a change in tooth sensitivity then consult with your dentist. Your dentist can administer a fluoride varnish to help protect your teeth as well as the restorative treatment like a filling, crown, or root canal. It’s also possible you need a gum graft to aid receding gums, or maybe you need a prescription-grade toothpaste.