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Sensitive Teeth – Causes and Treatment Options

If you feel pain or sensitivity when you brush and floss or eat or drink hot or cold foods and beverages, you may have sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth are a common condition which can affect anyone. Sensitive teeth can be caused by many things which include the following:

  • Fractured teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Worn fillings
  • Exposed tooth root

Healthy teeth have a layer of enamel which protects the crowns of your teeth. Under the gum line this layer is known as cementum and protects the tooth root. The underlying layer is the dentin which is less dense than enamel. It also contains small microscopic tubules (small canals or hollow tubes). These tubules reach far into the tooth to where the blood vessels and nerves reside.

If the enamel and cementum is damaged or gets thin, the tubules allow cold, heat, sticky foods, and acidic foods to reach the nerves inside the tooth. Receding gums may also expose the dentin in your teeth causing sensitivity. A cracked or chipped tooth or cavity can also cause hypersensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be treated. Your doctor may suggest the following treatments.

  • Desensitizing tooth paste helps block pain. It may take several applications and there are several over the counter products you can try. Your dentist can suggest the best one for you.
  • Fluoride may be applied to your teeth by your dentist to the areas which need to be strengthened. Dr. Buckingham may also prescribe an at home fluoride tray for application of fluoride.
  • Bonding or desensitizing treatment consists of a bonding resin applied to the sensitive root surfaces.
  • A surgical gum graft replaces lost gum tissue which exposes roots and reduces sensitivity.
  • A root canal may be needed if sensitive teeth are causing server pain and other treatments don’t help. The pulp of your teeth is removed, removing the nerves and blood vessels causing sensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be painful, but there are treatments available. Call or contact Dr. Buckingham today if you suffer from sensitive teeth.