Tooth sensitivity can be defined as a painful reaction in one of more teeth triggered by hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks. This pain can be sharp, sudden and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth. If you have tooth sensitivity, we invite you to contact Parkway Dental at 919-380-9622 and schedule your appointment with Dr. Stephen Coker in Cary, North Carolina.  Our dentist and team can provide you with treatments to help reduce and sometimes even eliminate the sensitivity of your teeth.

Apart from a cavity or a missing filling, the most common cause of tooth sensitivity is exposed dentin on the roots of your teeth. Normally, the dentin (the second, more sensitive layer of the tooth) is surrounded and protected by your enamel, cementum (special root covering) and gums. The cause or mechanism of dentinal sensitivity is still not well understood. It is believed that the little tubes that connect the dentin to the nerve or pulp serve as sensory conductors. That sensation may be one of pain. OUCH!!

Causes of dental sensitivity include:

  • Brushing too hard – Over a period of time, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush may wear away enamel or cementum and cause the dentin to be exposed.
  • Recession of the gums – Movement of gums away from the tooth due to periodontal disease will expose the root surface.
  • Gum disease – Inflamed and sore gum tissue may also cause sensitivity due to the loss of supporting ligaments which exposes root surface.
  • Cracked teeth – Chipped or broken teeth may fill up with bacteria from plaque and enter the pulp causing an inflammatory reaction.
  • Grinding your teeth – Grinding or clenching your teeth may wear down the enamel and expose underlying dentin.
  • Plaque – The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause sensitivity.

Treatments for tooth sensitivity include composite dental fillings, dentin sealer (applied to the exposed root surface), and fluoride varnish (also applied to the exposed root surface.)

You can prevent or reduce your tooth sensitivity at home by:

  • Maintaining good oral hygiene
  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Using desensitizing toothpaste
  • Considering what you eat and avoiding foods high in acids
  • Using fluoridated dental products

For more information, please contact our office today.