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Causes of tooth sensitivity

Your dentist can determine the cause of your sensitive tooth

Sensitivity can be treated by your dentist



Sensitivity is the short sharp pain felt when something touches a tooth with exposed dentin (the underlying part of the tooth that is exposed when the overlying enamel is lost). It usually occurs in response to cold, hot, sweet, sour or touch.

Causes of tooth sensitivity

  • tooth-decay

  • wrong brushing habits

  • gums receding with age (often starts in 30's) exposing the tooth root

  • trauma to the tooth - if any tooth is constantly being traumatized due to bite problems or improper occlusion then that tooth is likely to become sensitive.

  • aerated drinks (sodas) may cause sensitive teeth. The acid in the drink tends to wear off the enamel and then the underlying dentin gets exposed.

  • severe gum infections can also present as sensitivity. This is due to the irritation caused by the infection of the gums at the root surface of the tooth.

The cause of your sensitive tooth can be determined by your dentist

  • Visual examination to find any decayed teeth, or teeth that have been worn out at the gum margins by wrong brushing habits.

  • X-rays can help to detect teeth that are constantly under trauma due to occlusal problems. The extent of the damage to the tooth can be seen.

  • Occlusal analysis to detect abnormal chewing movements.

  • Bruxism is a habit some people have of grinding their teeth at night or when under stress. Others might clench their jaws or clatter their teeth. This may manifest either as severe wear of the teeth, pain in the jaws or as cracked teeth. Generalized sensitivity can be a symptom of this condition.

Sensitivity can be treated by your dentist

  • Any decay found in your teeth can be cleaned and filled to seal the underlying dentin.

  • If the cause is improper brushing habits, then a change in brushing method coupled with repair of the defect should solve your problem.

  • If the root of the tooth is exposed then a desensitizing paste could help.

  • Gum disease can be treated if that is the cause of your problem.

  • Bruxism is not so easy to treat. Occlusal correction along with a bite plate can control the damage, but total cure will require mental conditioning.

  • If there is any interference in your occlusal scheme, then correcting that high point should make the tooth comfortable.

  • Erosion of enamel caused by aerated drinks will require a change in lifestyle (diet) followed by veneering the affected teeth. Desensitizing pastes may help in less severe cases.




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