Have you ever eaten a spoonful of ice cream or drank a sip a coffee and winced? You may have wondered: Why does my tooth hurt? Well, you may have a sensitive tooth. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem for many people – not just Hendricks County residents.
Normally, your teeth have a strong enamel layer that protects the crowns of the teeth. They also have a layer of cementum that protects the tooth root under the gum line. Underneath the enamel and cementum is a layer of dentin which surrounds the nerve located in the center of the tooth. Over time, your tooth’s enamel and cementum may thin, exposing the dentin.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Some common causes for dentin exposure are:

  • Fractured, cracked or chipped teeth
  • Tooth grinding or clenching
  • Tooth decay or cavities
  • Gum recession due to gum disease
  • Aggressive tooth brushing with an abrasive toothpaste, incorrect tooth-brushing technique or brushing more than three times a day which can lead to enamel loss
  • Acidic beverages, such as soda, that can wear away the enamel

The dentin has lots of small hollow tubes that run from the outside of the tooth to the nerve. When the dentin loses its protective covering, these tubes allow hot or cold temperatures, or certain foods that are acidic or sticky, to stimulate the nerves. This can cause your tooth to be hypersensitive and painful when you breathe in through your mouth, chew, or drink/eat hot or cold foods or liquids.

Treatment for Tooth Sensitivity

To manage sensitive teeth that cause intermittent pain, Dr. Erickson recommends using:

  • Toothpaste designed for tooth sensitivity to help block the pain
  • A soft-bristle toothbrush to prevent gum irritation
  • A fluoride rinse

If these treatments don’t help with your discomfort, or your pain is constant, contact Danville Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment. Dr. Erickson will need to examine your tooth to accurately determine the cause in order to recommend the appropriate treatment.  Some possible in-office treatments may include special desensitizing agents or a filling, crown, inlay or tooth bonding to fix tooth problems or decay.
So, don’t let tooth sensitivity stop you from enjoying your favorite hot or cold foods and beverages, Dr. Erickson can help you find a solution for your tooth sensitivity.