Why You get Sensitive Teeth and How to Fix it

The most common culprit behind sensitive teeth is exposed dentin. Dentin is a layer of tissue beneath the hard outer enamel of your teeth. It’s naturally more sensitive than enamel, and contains tiny tubules that lead directly to the nerves in your teeth. When the dentin becomes exposed, due to factors like:

  • Receding gums: This can happen as you age, or due to gum disease. When the gums pull away from your teeth, it exposes the dentin at the root, which is very sensitive.
  • Worn enamel: This can be caused by things like brushing too hard, grinding your teeth, or consuming acidic foods and drinks. As the enamel wears away, it leaves the dentin underneath vulnerable.
  • Cracked teeth: A crack in your tooth can allow hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks to reach the dentin, causing pain.
  • Recent dental procedures: Sometimes, fillings or other dental work can irritate the dentin and cause temporary sensitivity.

How to solve the problem:

The best way to treat sensitive teeth depends on the underlying cause. Here are some options:

  • For mild sensitivity:
    • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth: These toothpastes contain ingredients that help block the tubules in the dentin, reducing sensitivity.
    • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: Brushing too hard can irritate the gums and wear away enamel, so switching to a softer brush can help.
    • Avoid acidic foods and drinks: Acidic foods and drinks can erode enamel and irritate dentin, so try to limit your intake or rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
  • For more severe sensitivity:
    • See your dentist: They can diagnose the cause of your sensitivity and recommend the best treatment. This might include:
      • Desensitizing gels or varnishes: These are applied to the teeth by your dentist to help block the tubules in the dentin.
      • Fluoride treatments: Fluoride can help strengthen enamel and make it more resistant to acid erosion.
      • Gum grafting: If your gums have receded significantly, your dentist may recommend a gum graft to cover the exposed dentin.
      • Dental fillings or crowns: If you have a cracked tooth or a cavity, your dentist will need to repair the damage to prevent further sensitivity.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day to remove plaque and bacteria that can contribute to gum disease and enamel erosion.
  • Avoid grinding your teeth: If you grind your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about getting a mouthguard to wear while you sleep.
  • See your dentist regularly: Regular checkups and cleanings can help identify and address problems early on, before they cause more serious issues.

By following these tips, you can find relief from sensitive teeth and enjoy a healthy, pain-free smile.

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