Sensitive teeth are a bothersome and painful problem which causes pain in the teeth when they are exposed to certain conditions. Exposure to hot and cold, even pressure can cause tooth pain for people with sensitive teeth, causing them to avoid certain foods and even activities in order to prevent it.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
The cause of sensitive teeth lies in the anatomy of a tooth. Your tooth is made up of two main parts- the crown (above the gum) and the root (below the gum). A hard covering called enamel protects the exposed portion of the tooth from decay and sensitivity.
Beneath the enamel, the tooth is made up of dentin and pulp. The pulp is the vital, part of the tooth structure which contains the blood supply and the nerve. Extending from the outside of the tooth into the nerve canal are tiny, microscopic tubules or pores.
When sensitive teeth are exposed to heat, cold and pressure, the sensation of pain occurs as a result of the nerve detecting the stimulant through the tubules. People with sensitive teeth often have a thinning of the tooth enamel, reducing its protection against feeling pain. Gum recession with resultant exposed tooth root is also a common cause.
Sensitive Toothpaste Can Help
Sensitive toothpaste works by one of two means. In some sensitive toothpaste, an ingredient called potassium nitrate causes a mild numbing of the nerve, blocking the sensation and helping ease sensitivity. Other sensitive toothpastes work by blocking the tubules which lead to the nerve inside the tooth. An ingredient called potassium nitrate builds up inside the tubules, and over time works to block them, preventing the sensation of hot and cold from reaching the nerve.
Do You Have Sensitive Teeth?
Sensitive teeth can be a real pain. Your first step to solving the problem is to have a dental check-up with Dr. Ban. A dental exam will help make sure that your sensitive teeth are not caused by another problem such as tooth decay, gum disease or injury. Dr. Ban can recommend a sensitive toothpaste and other treatments which may be available to you in order to treat your sensitive teeth.
Give us a call today to schedule your dental check-up!