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Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common reasons patients seek dental treatment. It happens to many people, and perhaps all of us have experienced it at one time or another! Imagine drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of iced water, or perhaps eating some candy, when all of a sudden you feel a terrible sharp sensation in your teeth; almost as though you're having a brain freeze inside of your teeth - if that is even possible!
Sensitivity often occurs when the layer of teeth beneath the enamel, called the dentin, gets thinner and becomes exposed due to erosion of the enamel or recession of gum tissue, thus reducing the protection the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and root. Tooth sensitivity can come and go over time and is often triggered by eating hot, cold, sweet or very acidic foods and drinks, and even breathing in cold air.
There are many causes of tooth sensitivity, including but not limited to:
- Worn tooth enamel from brushing too aggressively
- Tooth erosion due to consuming highly acidic foods and beverages
- Tooth erosion due to gastroesophageal disease (GERD)
- Gum recession leaving your root surface exposed
- Teeth whitening/bleaching treatments
- Cracked/chipped teeth
- Decayed teeth
Because there are many causes of tooth sensitivity, paying a visit to your dentist for a proper diagnosis can help you treat the sensitivity more effectively.
However, as we know, prevention is better than cure! Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing gums from receding and causing sensitive-tooth pain. If you brush your teeth incorrectly, or over-brush, your gums may become sensitive. If you have any questions about your current oral hygiene routine, do feel free to ask your dentist any questions. After all, we are here to help you!