7 Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

When you drink something cold, is one of your teeth so sensitive that you try to drink out of one side of your mouth? Perhaps when you brush, the bristles make you wince as they touch one or more of your teeth. 

Tooth sensitivity can have several causes. Board-certified endodontist Ramesh K. Sunar, DMD, with Charlotte Root Canal Center, sees many patients with sensitive teeth. He’s put together a list of seven common reasons for tooth sensitivity — listed below — and what you can do to relieve the discomfort. 

1. Brushing too hard 

If your teeth suddenly become sensitive, you may have exposed roots. The likely culprit? Brushing too hard. If you brush your teeth too vigorously, your tooth enamel can thin to the point where you expose canals that lead to the nerves. The nerves react to hot or cold temperatures, as well as to certain acidic foods, and transmit the sharp, sudden pain signal.

Dr. Sunar recommends starting to brush with a soft toothbrush and use gentle strokes; lighten up on the pressure you place on the brush. He may refer you to a periodontist (gum specialist) if the gums have become infected. 

2. Gum disease 

Brushing too hard can also lead to gum recession, and tooth sensitivity is often one of the first signs. If you can see more of your tooth than you used to, your gum has receded. If your gums recede too much, you may develop gum (periodontal) disease

Periodontal disease occurs when the gum tissue that holds your teeth in place becomes infected. It usually occurs as a result of poor brushing and flossing habits that allow bacterial plaque to build up and attack the exposed tissue. In advanced stages, the gums turn red and bleed, chewing becomes painful, and tooth loss becomes an increasing risk.

3. Grinding your teeth

If you grind your teeth at night — known as bruxism — you can wear down your tooth enamel. As with brushing too hard, you can expose the dentin, the material underneath your enamel. The dentin has pathways that lead directly to the tooth’s nerves. 

Bruxism can actually wear down the teeth to the point where they’re half gone. You’re more likely to get an infection and are more susceptible to tooth loss when you’re a tooth grinder. Dr. Sunar recommends a custom-made mouthguard to stop your teeth grinding. 

4. Tooth whitening toothpaste

Check the description on your toothpaste tube. Teeth whitening agents are very common; people want their teeth to be as white as possible. But tooth whitening chemicals can cause tooth sensitivity, especially for people with receding gums. Simply select a toothpaste without the whitening agent. 

5. Dental procedures 

If you’ve had a crown or a root canal recently, you can develop sensitivity around the tooth. This is normal, and it should disappear. If it doesn’t, come back in to see Dr. Sunar to ensure you don’t have an infection. 

6. A cracked tooth 

If your tooth is cracked, it can cause sensitivity because it exposes the nerve inside. If Dr. Sunar discovers a crack, he may recommend a crown, a structure that covers the natural tooth and provides protection.  

7. Tooth decay

Older fillings can crack and leak. Bacteria invade the crevices and break down your enamel. Your filling needs to be replaced. If it’s a large filling, and there’s not much tooth left, you may need a crown.

Teeth sensitive? Don’t suffer a moment more Call us at 980-289-0669 or book an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Turn Your Tooth White Again with Internal Bleaching

You recently got a root canal, and now you’re noticing some discoloration. You want your white smile back, but don’t know if anything can be done about it. Fortunately, you can turn your tooth bright again with internal bleaching.

Treatment Options for a Cracked Tooth

Ignoring a cracked tooth can affect your overall dental health as well as your well-being. Fortunately, if you do crack a tooth, there are plenty of ways to fix it. Read on to learn more about treating a cracked tooth.

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy After a Root Canal

If you’ve recently undergone root canal treatment, you need to know how to care for your mouth as it heals. After all, you don’t want to go through the procedure again. Read on to find out how to alter your regular dental health routine.

Teeth Whitening vs. Internal Bleaching

Sometimes, tooth discoloration withstands topical teeth whitening treatment. Fortunately, there’s another way. If you have internal staining, our bleaching treatments remove the discoloration from inside your teeth, and your bright smile is back!

How Do I Know If I'm Having a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is defined as much by its impact on you as by the nature of the problem. Whether a toothache, chipped or knocked-out tooth, unusual swelling, or other pain, prompt dentist attention is usually the best course of action.