If drinking a cup of hot tea or eating ice cream causes you pain and discomfort, you might suffer from tooth sensitivity. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, approximately 40 million adults in America have at some point experienced tooth sensitivity. This condition results in sharp and sudden pain that radiates to the nerve endings of your tooth. It may come and go.
What is Tooth Sensitivity?
The crown portion of your tooth is covered in a hard, protective layer called enamel. Beneath the enamel is a soft layer called dentin, which contains tubules filled with nerve endings. These nerve endings extend to the root of your tooth where they are protected by a layer called cementum. When enamel or cementum wears down, dentin is exposed and your trigger foods (or even an element such as a burst of cold wind) will reach the nerve endings and result in pain.
Some root causes of tooth sensitivity include:
If your tooth sensitivity is mild, you may be able to manage it at home. Over-the-counter desensitizing toothpastes such as Sensodyne can begin to offer you relief after about 2 weeks of daily use. You may also apply tiny dabs of the toothpaste to sensitive spots. Try using a soft-bristled toothbrush and make sure you floss daily.
However, if tooth sensitivity continues to bother you, give us a call. Dr. Roberts will work with you to identify the underlying cause of your tooth sensitivity and recommend the most appropriate treatment. Some in-office procedures that can help alleviate discomfort include the application of fluoride gel and dental sealants.