Painful Tooth Sensitivity to Hot and Cold
Tooth sensitivity, also known by the fancier name dentin hypersensitivity, affects millions of people. Most sufferers feel the most discomfort when they drink or eat something very hot or very cold. Tooth sensitivity can be caused by receding gums or the erosion of tooth enamel, both of which can expose nerves that trigger pain. There are toothpastes available that can help with sensitive teeth, but the best way to deal with the problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Dentin is the inside layer of your teeth underneath the hard enamel layer on top. Tooth enamel can wear down, exposing the dentin and causing pain and sensitivity. Tooth enamel is susceptible to acids in the foods we eat, and while it does restore itself through the process of calcification, sometimes we can do damage to our teeth that makes it possible for eroded enamel to become a real problem.
It may be impossible to avoid eating acidic foods entirely, especially because many healthy fruits and vegetables contain acids. One of the mistakes people often mistake is overbrushing. Brushing with the wrong toothbrush or brushing too hard can actually work against your teeth by harming the enamel and making it difficult for it to restore itself. Brushing too soon after eating can also interfere with the enamel recalcification process, so it’s best to wait at least half an hour after meals to brush.
Receding gums can also expose nerves and cause pain and sensitivity. Gum recession can be the result of gum disease or it can be caused by smoking, teeth grinding, aggressive brushing of the teeth or misaligned teeth.
If you have sensitive teeth, there are types of toothpaste designed to help. These toothpastes usually contain ingredients that block pain signals, but they don’t actually solve the problem that caused your tooth sensitivity to begin with. Sensitive teeth should be seen as a sign that something may be wrong. Pain, of course, always requires a visit to the dentist as soon as possible.
At Alabama Family Dentistry we can help you deal with sensitive teeth. We can recommend changes to your oral hygiene routine that can help to reduce enamel erosion, and determine if treatments like fluoride or sealants could help. We can also give you an exam to be sure that your teeth and gums are in good health and determine if there might be an underlying issue that could be contributing to your tooth sensitivity.
If you have sensitive teeth, pain when eating or drinking food or beverages at extreme temperatures, or would just like to learn more about tooth sensitivity and how it can be prevented and controlled, call any of our Alabama Family Dentistry offices now. We have four offices in the Birmingham area to serve you.
Please note that this article is not meant to take the place of advice from a dental professional. Call us now with any questions or comments.