A Sensitive Issue: What Sensitive Teeth Means for You

Winter is a common season for people to discover teeth sensitivities. Joggers often avoid outdoor training if they experience tooth pain. Some people have success using a mouthguard and similar products while jogging or working out in the cold months, but teeth sensitivity will persist, because we can’t stay indoors all the time.

If you avoid cold beverages or foods like ice cream or iced sodas because of tooth pain, you may have sensitive teeth. Hot items can also cause pain if you have sensitive teeth, so you should be mindful of your symptoms. It is not normal to have tooth pain or sensitivity. In fact, it can indicate a problem.

Whatever your symptoms are, if you’re reaching for the sensitive tooth paste, you’re not alone. About three million Americans are affected by sensitive teeth, also called dentin hypersensitivity, each year. It affects adults of all ages, but teeth are most sensitive between the ages of 25 and 30. This is the time to expect it. If you’re not expecting it, and you suddenly experience it, sensitive teeth can be a pain!

What causes sensitive teeth?

Most often, sensitive teeth is caused by the gums pulling away from the tooth, exposing the sensitive dentin beneath and letting sugars and hot or cold foods onto the sensitive roots. This can become quite painful as the condition worsens, and can lead to treatment like a root canal to deaden the nerves in the roots, stopping pain completely.

Of course, there are other causes for sensitive teeth, and they should be taken seriously!

  1. Wear and Tear
    Brushing too hard, using an improper toothbrush, or grinding your teeth can wear down your enamel over time and expose the dentin.
  2. Tooth Decay
    Decay and cavities, big or small, damages enamel and exposes the dentin. Sometimes cavities become so serious that they also result in a root canal procedure.
  3. Damage or Trauma
    Broken or damaged teeth often expose the dentin. When a tooth breaks it can leave rough edges and pockets that also allow food to become trapped and cause decay.
  4. Dental Work
    If you recently had a dental procedure you can expect a small amount of temporary sensitivity. If you experience severe pain, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist.

How can you treat sensitive teeth?

If you experience sensitive teeth you can avoid coffee and ice cream. You may even buy the sensitive toothpaste and that mouthguard for your morning workout, but when it affects your ability to enjoy holiday treats it’s time to call a professional!

Until you have had a full oral workup, you should not make attempts to “fix” your sensitive teeth. If your problem is decay, damage, or periodontal disease, no amount of soft bristle brushes or sensitive tooth paste will ease your pain. You need a dentist!

Even if your sensitivity is caused from wear and tear, your dentist can help. At Rivas Dental Care we can apply a cap to protect the tooth as well as perform a root canal to deaden the exposed roots completely, meaning no more pain.

Of course, if you’re looking to avoid sensitive teeth altogether, the easiest way is to follow the advice of a trusted dentist, and let that dentist provide valuable preventative care on a regular basis. Teeth cleanings and oral exams can stop decay in it’s tracks, and the wear and tear will not be so extensive.

More than anything, you won’t be in pain, and that is a plus.

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