Dental Care Blog

Doug Klein DDS, Grandville MI

Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?

If you’ve noticed that your teeth are especially sensitive to hot or cold food and drink, you’re not alone.

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients, with at least 40 million adults in the U.S. suffering from the condition at some point in time.

It helps to understand exactly what it is, why it happens, and what you can do to prevent it.

Dentistry for Sensitive Teeth to hot, cold, sweets and more - Klein Dentistry of Grandville MI 49418

What Is Tooth Sensitivity?

The part of teeth above your gumline — known as the crowns — are covered with a layer of protective enamel. The roots below your gumline are protected with a material called cementum. Underneath the enamel and cementum is dentin, which contains microscopic canals called dentin tubules.

When the hard enamel is worn down or gums have receded, this causes the surfaces to be exposed. So when your gums recede and expose the dentin, the tubules allow fluid to flow in them which results in nerve irritation. They’re affected by both heat and cold, which can cause pain and sensitivity.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

There are many reasons why your teeth and gums might suddenly become more sensitive. You might be brushing with too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush that can wear down the protective layers of your teeth over time. The consumption of acidic foods such as tomato sauce, lemon, grapefruit, and pickles can also cause pain.

Some over-the-counter tooth-whitening products and mouthwashes contain alcohol and other chemicals that can make your teeth more sensitive. Tooth grinding — or bruxism — can also wear down the protective enamel layers over time, causing the teeth to be sensitive.

However, if you have extremely sensitive teeth, it could be because of tooth decay, worn fillings, or fractured teeth — all of which can be diagnosed and treated by Dr. Klein.

How Your Dentist Can Help Sensitive Teeth

When a tooth is sensitive for more than three or four days and reacts to hot and cold temperatures, it’s time to see your dentist so they can figure out the extent of the problem. Treatment could be a simple as decreasing the intake of acidic foods and switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and desensitizing toothpaste.

The dentist may also apply fluoride to the sensitive areas of your teeth to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce pain. However, if the problem is more severe, treatment may involve a crown, inlay, root canal, or bonding.

If you are suffering from sensitive teeth because of teeth grinding, you may be fitted for a mouth guard that’s to be worn during the night. It protects your teeth from pressure and damage, which can be highly effective at reducing tooth sensitivity and pain.

Personal Solutions For Your Tooth Sensitivity

To learn more about how Klein Dental can help you with your sensitive teeth, contact us anytime. We’d love to learn more about your unique situation and find a treatment plan that’s right for you.