Can you enjoy a bite of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee without flinching? If you are suddenly super-aware of extremely hot or cold temperatures in your mouth, it might be difficult for you to eat properly or even brush and floss without pain and discomfort. Having sensitive teeth may sometimes be an annoying and temporary condition but, more likely, it’s the sign of a bigger oral health problem that requires immediate dental care.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
There are many possible causes of sensitive teeth, including:
- Tooth decay: A small filling isn’t always obvious right away. That’s why it’s so important to see your dentist every six months for dental cleanings, checkups, and digital x-rays – if there’s something brewing in your tooth enamel, it will be found. Waiting too long though or skipping a cleaning can mean that a small filling becomes a big filling – and it could give you sensitive teeth.
- Old filling: A broken, leaking, or deteriorating filling is a problem in so many ways, especially if we’re talking about a toxic silver filling. In general, though, though complication can allow bacteria to get into the treated area, and it can also reveal the inner workings of the tooth that were previously covered up. The result: tooth sensitivity, and potentially bigger tooth infections.
- Worn tooth enamel: People who grind and clench their teeth every night and do not wear a protective nightguard put themselves at risk for all sorts of oral health problems, sensitive teeth among them. The pressure of teeth on teeth can easily lead to worn tooth enamel and ton of discomfort and dental deterioration.
- Gum disease: Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, is not always easy to spot. You may have twinges of tooth sensitivity but simply chalk it up to a random occurrence. In reality, this could be a sign that something is brewing in your mouth. Seeing your dentist regularly – and sometimes at special appointments when you have ongoing tooth sensitivity – means gum disease is diagnosed early so the disease doesn’t have a chance to develop fully.
- Fractured tooth: Some dental problems are invisible. There is nothing wrong with the crown of your tooth but there are things happening under the gumline that are causing your pain. Only a dental exam and x-rays can deliver this diagnosis.
Contributors to Enamel Deterioration
When teeth are healthy, the crowns are fully covered by tooth enamel that protects the innerworkings of the teeth, preventing sensitivity. Tooth enamel loss is not uncommon though – after all, teeth work hard every day, accidents happen, and sometimes tooth decay sneaks its way in no matter how hard we try to avoid it. But there are also some lifestyle factors that contribute to enamel deterioration and tooth sensitivity:
- A diet high in sugary drinks and acidic foods
- Dry mouth
- Certain medications
- Acid reflux
- Teeth grinding
When tooth enamel is lost and taking care of your teeth is painful, a halfhearted oral hygiene routine will only compound any developing problems. The only way to find out exactly what’s going on with your tooth sensitivity is to see your Arlington dentist Dr. Alana Macalik. Schedule an appointment for immediate dental care and discover whether the solution is as simple as desensitizing toothpaste or more in-depth to protect your oral health.