Understanding the Causes of Sensitive Teeth and Gums
If you have experienced uncomfortable sensations in your mouth when eating or drinking hot or cold food and beverages, you may have a sensitive teeth and gums. Tooth sensitivities are often a result of poor dental care, vigorous brushing, and teeth grinding. Taking extra care with your oral hygiene can help you avoid sensitive teeth. However, if you are affected by this uncomfortable condition, you should contact your dentist to find out how to help sensitive teeth. Although most cases are easily treated, some may be a sign of decay or even a broken tooth or leaky filling, which should be treated immediately.
Two Types of Tooth Sensitivity
1. Dentinal sensitivity is a type of tooth sensitivity that occurs when the middle layer of a tooth (also known as dentin) is exposed. Under normal circumstances, the dentin is protected by enamel above the gum line and by cementum below the gum line. Dentin is the home to tiny openings called tubules, where nerve branches of the tooth’s pulp originate. Essentially, this is the nerve center of the tooth. When the dentin is exposed, cold or hot temperatures or pressure can impact the nerve center, leading to sensitive teeth. Dentin may become exposed when the breakdown of protective layers of enamel occurs. This can affect one or more teeth and may be caused by multiple factors, including:
- Hard or vigorous brushing of the teeth
- Tarter buildup along the gum line due to poor dental care
- Wearing of the teeth over time
- Cavities left untreated
- Cracked or leaking fillings
- Receding gums
- Excessive tooth whitening (particularly if damage already exists)
- Over-consumption of acidic foods or acidic liquids
2. Pulpal sensitivity is generally isolated to a single tooth. It is caused by a reaction at the tooth’s pulp—a mass of blood vessels and nerves in the center of each tooth. Pulpal sensitivity is caused by several factors:
- New fillings
- Pressure as a result of excessive clenching or grinding
- A cracked or broken tooth
Both forms of sensitivity are treatable, however pulpal sensitivity is a bit more complex to address.
Dentinal sensitivity treatment begins with a routine cleaning, however, if your teeth are too sensitive to undergo a thorough cleansing, your dentist may use a local anesthetic or nitrous oxide to ease discomfort. Following your teeth cleaning, your dentist may apply a fluoride varnish to temporarily reduce sensitivity, improve tooth strength and protect your teeth.
For a more in-depth treatment for dentinal sensitivity, your dentist may also apply an in-office treatment product that blocks the tubules in dentin and reduces sensitivity. Or, for a more advanced approach, a dental laser treatment may be used to alter the tubules and reduce sensitivity.
At home, you will need to use toothpaste specially designed for sensitive teeth and a fluoride mouth rinse for added protection. Consult your dental care professional about which products are best suited for dentinal sensitivity.
Pulpal sensitivity treatment may require a root canal if the tooth’s nerve is damaged or dying. This procedure requires the removal of the nerve and placement of a non-reactive substance in the opening left by the removed nerve. Since the tooth will no longer have a continuous barrier of enamel to protect it, it will be restored with either a crown or a composite filling.
To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Ocala, call Advanced Dental Care of Shady Road today at (352) 433-4934 or make an appointment.
Advanced Dental Care offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Ocala. With 21 affiliated practices throughout Florida, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Advanced Dental Care of Shady Road, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Advanced Dental Care of Shady Road.