Why Do I have Tooth Sensitivity?

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When you eat cold or hot foods, you may experience pain. Often times this is because of a condition called dentinal hypersensitivity, meaning your teeth are more sensitive to temperature than an average tooth. Although dentists don’t know what causes tooth sensitivity, there are a number of ways Dr. Hortman at Palmetto Dental Associates in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina can help you repair your tooth sensitivity. 

Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity begins when you feel a sharp or extreme pain when you expose your tooth to stimuli such as, changing temperature. Other times you may experience this pain is when you are brushing or flossing your teeth, using an alcoholic rinse, and eating sugary or acidic foods like candy and oranges, respectively. If you experience these symptoms, call Dr. Hortman at Palmetto Dental Associates to schedule an appointment to discover the underlying cause of your pain. 

What is the Cause of Tooth Sensitivity?

There is not one thing that causes tooth sensitivity. Often it can be described as a symptom of different underlying problems. One example is dentin hypersensitivity. First, let’s talk about dental anatomy. In the tooth there are three main layers, moving from the outside in, there is the enamel, dentin, and pulp. The innermost layer, the pulp, contains a number of nerves and blood vessels. When this layer is exposed to the outside environment it can cause serious pain. However, in dentin hypersensitivity, the outside environment only has to break through the first and toughest layer, the enamel, to cause tooth sensitivity. Not all exposed dentin causes sensitivity; however, when the exposed dentin opens pathways to nerves within the tooth, sensitivity can begin. 

tooth sensitivity blog 8/1/19

Reasons For Dentin Hypersensitivity 

In the article linked above, the authors outline two main ways that tooth sensitivity can begin from the exposure of the dentin. In both ways, the enamel must be broken. This layer can be damaged by a lesion in the tooth or exposed by a receding gum line. If you grind your teeth or if you recently feel, you may be at an increased risk for a dental lesion on your tooth. If the lesion is deep enough it can break through the layer of enamel exposing the dentin to elements and causing pain. 

In another instance, if you struggle with gum disease, you may experience receding gums. This happens when your gums become inflamed and begin moving away from the base of the tooth. This allows bacteria and plaque to gather between the gums and the tooth, worsening the condition. As the gums move further from the tooth, more dentin is exposed causing increased pain. 

No matter what the cause, living with tooth sensitivity can be uncomfortable. Contact Dr. Hortman at Palmetto Dental Associates in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina today for more information about how to prevent and restore your tooth sensitivity.