causes of tooth sensitivity

8 Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Have your teeth become sensitive all of a sudden? Tooth sensitivity can be caused by many different factors, and if left untreated, it can lead to more dental problems and further discomfort. At Lifetime Family Dental, we want to help you find relief from tooth pain and sensitivity as quickly as possible. Continue reading to learn what might be causing your tooth sensitivity, so you can seek the proper treatment. 

Eight Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

1: Too Much Plaque

Poor oral hygiene results in a buildup of plaque, a sticky film of harmful bacteria that attack your tooth enamel. If your enamel grows too weak, the dentin becomes exposed, allowing extreme temperatures and acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves in your teeth. This causes the pain and discomfort described as tooth sensitivity. 

Professional teeth cleanings can also help prevent and treat tooth sensitivity from enamel erosion by removing the plaque and tartar that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. However, cleaning isn’t always enough to treat sensitivity. Depending on the level of damage to your teeth, you might also need a filling, crown, or root canal.

2: Gum Disease

A buildup of plaque along your gumline can lead to chronic infections, a condition known as gum disease. Gum disease makes your gums recede, which can cause tooth sensitivity by exposing the vulnerable roots of your teeth. Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for keeping tooth decay and gum disease at bay.

Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, can be reversed with professional teeth cleanings and good oral hygiene. However, the later stages of gum disease are irreversible and require root scaling and planing to prevent the infection from growing worse. 

3: Brushing Too Hard

Brushing your teeth is crucial for maintaining your oral health, but brushing too hard can do more harm than good. Brushing your teeth with too much force or with a hard-bristled toothbrush weakens your enamel over time. To prevent further damage to your enamel, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth using light pressure only. If your enamel has become too weak, tooth bonding can help protect your teeth by adding a layer of composite resin to the surface of your teeth that functions like enamel. 

4: Acidic Foods

Acid is another culprit when it comes to enamel erosion. Consuming lots of acidic foods and drinks like coffee, oranges, kiwis, pickles, orange juice, and lemonade weakens your enamel. When your enamel is too weak to protect your teeth, acidic foods and drinks can cause pain and discomfort. Avoiding or limiting your intake can help protect your teeth. 

Acid also softens the enamel for a short time, so brushing your teeth too soon after eating or drinking something acidic can cause even more damage. It’s important to wait at least an hour after a meal or an acidic drink to give your enamel time to build back strength.   

5: Tooth Grinding

Grinding your teeth is a subconscious habit that wears down your enamel over time. It can also lead to chipped or cracked teeth, causing even more sensitivity. A custom-made mouthguard is the best solution for protecting your teeth from tooth grinding, especially if you’re a night grinder. 

6: Biting Your Nails

Another subconscious habit that causes sensitivity is nail-biting. Biting your nails weakens your enamel and exposes your mouth to more bacteria. Trimming your nails short or using bitter-tasting nail polish are a couple of ways to kick the nail-biting habit and protect your teeth. 

7: Loose Fillings

Metal and composite dental fillings can weaken over time if you don’t take care of your teeth. Weak fillings can crack or become loose, allowing tooth decay to reach the inside of your tooth and causing sensitivity. Loose fillings may eventually fall out, leading to more pain and sensitivity and putting your tooth at risk, so it’s best to get them replaced as soon as possible. 

8: Recent Dental Procedures

If you recently had a tooth filled, a crown placed, or another dental procedure, it’s normal to experience some tooth sensitivity. However, if your pain and discomfort don’t go away after a few weeks, make sure to contact your dentist for a follow-up examination. 

Treatment for Tooth Sensitivity in Gilbert

There are many causes of tooth sensitivity, and it can be very painful! If you have sensitive teeth, schedule an appointment with Lifetime Family Dental as soon as possible. We’ll give you a gentle, thorough examination to determine the cause of your pain and help you find relief with swift treatment. Call 480-558-4331 today to make an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/9/2022). Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels