The Causes of Sensitive Teeth and How Your Dentist Can Help

By June 19, 2019 June 26th, 2019 Blog, Dental
couple eating ice cream in the sun

Does eating ice cream send blinding pain through your teeth? Do you avoid drinking coffee and tea because hot beverages makes you want to scream? You’re not alone — you’re likely one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from tooth sensitivity. The good news is that tooth pain is totally curable, as long as you visit your dentist as soon as possible.

At Naperville Dental Specialists, we aim to treat the underlying cause of tooth pain — not just the symptoms. We’re experts in diagnosing, treating and managing tooth sensitivity safely and efficiently. Here are some common causes of sensitive teeth and how we, your general dentists in Naperville, can help you get back to living your best life.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Your sensitive teeth could be caused by a number of different things. The cause depends on the type of pain you’re experiencing. Some causes of tooth sensitivity are more serious than others — but if you’re having any kind of discomfort with your teeth, it’s important to see your dentist to find out what’s behind the pain.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Air?

If your teeth are sensitive air, it could mean you have an exposed root. This can happen simply because of aging, or there could be something more serious going on that’s wearing down your enamel. Gum disease, aggressive brushing, grinding and malocclusion (misaligned jaw) can all lead to root exposure, causing extreme sensitivity to air, as well as hot or cold foods. Since exposed roots lack the protective enamel that keeps infections and pain at bay, they can also contribute to further dental problems, such as root cavities or a root canal infection.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Pressure?

If pressure on your teeth is causing you pain, it’s likely due to one of two causes. Constant tooth sensitivity to pressure is a sign of an infection, while intermittent pain usually means you have a cracked tooth. Both need to be treated immediately by your dentist to reduce complications or further damage.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Cold or Heat?

Are your teeth super sensitive to cold or heat? You may have an infection or it could be a sign of deep tooth decay. Sensitivity to heat is of particular concern — it means your tooth has likely been deteriorating for a while and you will probably need a root canal to remove the infection.

No matter what’s causing your sensitive teeth, your dentist can help. If tooth pain arises, be sure to visit your dentist immediately to avoid potential risks.

Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

Treatment for sensitive teeth typically involves a trip to the dentist. Depending on the underlying cause of your pain, you may be able to use a home remedy for sensitive teeth. More serious issues, like deep infections, will require intervention with antibiotics or surgery. Remember: your dentist always knows best. They’ll be able to recommend the best course of action to treat your tooth pain. Here are the most common ways to treat sensitive teeth.

Use Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

For mild tooth sensitivity, a desensitizing toothpaste could be all you need. These toothpastes contain special compounds that block pain-causing stimuli, helping you return to a pain-free life. It usually takes a few uses for desensitizing toothpaste to take effect, so be patient and make sure to use it every time you brush.

Get a Fluoride Treatment

For issues related to weakened enamel, your dentist may advise a fluoride treatment to reduce your tooth sensitivity. Fluoride treatments are typically done in-office by applying fluoride gel to your sore teeth to help strengthen the enamel. In some cases, your dentist may be able to prescribe an at-home fluoride treatment.

Cover Up Exposed Roots

Exposed roots are one of the most painful kinds of tooth sensitivity. Treatment usually involves the application of bonding agents to conceal and protect the root surface.

Get a Surgical Gum Graft

In the case that your tooth root has lost gum tissue, a surgical graft may be your best option. This in-office treatment takes gum tissue from elsewhere in the mouth and uses it to regenerate the affected tooth.

Get a Root Canal

If your pain is severe or your haven’t found relief with other treatments, you will likely need to have a root canal procedure. A root canal addresses the source of your pain by treating your tooth’s core. In this procedure, your dentist will remove the nerve and dental pulp, and clean and reseal your tooth. Root canals are the most effective treatment for tooth pain.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

If you’ve ever suffered from tooth pain, you know that it can be extremely disruptive to your quality of life. It’s important to take care of your teeth at home to prevent sensitivity before it starts (and avoid excessive trips to the dentist!). Do these things every day to keep tooth pain away:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled brush
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste to help strengthen your enamel
  • Floss every day
  • Be gentle when you brush; vigorous brushing can cause abrasions
  • Use a mouthguard if you grind your teeth
  • Limit your consumption of acidic liquids (ie. carbonated drinks, citrus, wine)

No one should ever have to suffer from sensitive teeth. Fortunately, tooth pain is avoidable when you practice proper dental hygiene at home. In the case that infection or tooth pain does arise, call Naperville Dental Specialists for an appointment. We’ll examine your teeth, diagnose the cause of your pain and offer the best options for treatment. Our goal is to help our patients live their lives to the fullest — that to us, that starts with happy, healthy teeth.

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