If you occasionally experience a sudden flash of pain, or a mild tingly feeling when you bite into sweet or sour foods, or drink hot or cold beverages, you may have sensitive teeth.
Pain from sensitive teeth is not always constant; it can come and go. Constant pain could be a sign of a more serious problem. It is still important, however, to discuss your symptoms with your dentist to determine the cause and proper treatment.
What causes sensitive teeth?
In healthy teeth, porous tissue called dentin is protected by your gums and your teeth’s hard enamel shell. When this protection is lost, microscopic holes in the dentin called tubules, allow heat, cold and other irritants to be transmitted back to the tooth nerve triggering pain. Dentin can be exposed by:
– Receding gums caused by improper brushing or gum disease
– Fractured or chipped teeth
– Clenching or grinding your teeth (Bruxism).
A softer-bristled toothbrush is advised and there are toothpastes that can help reduce this problem. Sensodyne is one that many use regularly because it works for them.
Risk factors for Sensitive Teeth
Many people are unaware that they clench or grind their teeth while asleep. Signs can include sensitive or even chipped teeth.
Recommendations for Sensitive Teeth
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Prolonged, unintentional grinding and clenching of the teeth, usually occurring during sleep. 'Bruxers' are often unaware that they have developed this habit. Symptoms include abraded/chipped teeth (in extreme cases, waking up with tooth chips in the mouth); facial pain; oversensitive teeth; tense facial and jaw muscles; headaches; dislocation of the jaw; damage to the tooth enamel, exposing the inside of the tooth; a popping or clicking in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ); tongue indentations; damage to the inside of the cheek.