What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
The most common cause of sensitive dental pain is damage to the protective layers of the tooth. Your teeth are covered by a hard surface called 'enamel'. As long as this layer is healthy, it protects your teeth from cold, hot and acid foods or drinks. However, if this enamel surface is damaged, it exposes 'dentin'. Dentin is softer than enamel and when hot or cold foods or drinks contact it, your tooth feels sensitive. On the root surface, when your gums recede, instead of enamel, a different layer of tooth structure called 'cementum' covers dentin. Cementum is also soft, and wears easily with aggressive brushing, leaving the dentin covering, which again, can cause sensitive teeth.
Specific causes of sensitive teeth include:
- Gum disease - Unhealthy gums that bleed easily may cause sensitivity. Gingivitis (first stage of gum disease) and advanced gum disease (periodontitis) may cause gum recession, exposing the root surface with eventual wear of cementum, exposing dentin, that leads to the nerve of the tooth.
- Teeth grinding and clenching - Your teeth may wear down and get fine cracks in them from the pressure of grinding and clenching. These fine, almost invisible cracks can cause sensitivity.
- Teeth whitening products - If the whitening agent used is too strong, temporarily, your teeth will feel sensitive.
- Brushing with abrasive toothpaste can cause abrasion of the tooth's enamel or cementum surface, exposing dentin.
- Worn, cracked fillings
- Brushing too hard or using a hard toothbrush
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The good news is that there is treatment for sensitive teeth. The first step is to find the cause. Your dentist can help with this step. He or she may suggest desensitizing toothpaste, in-office treatment, new fillings, crowns, gum treatment, or help for clenching or grinding your teeth.
Concentrated fluoride gel or rinse used daily can also help with sensitive teeth. It's also very important to use a gentle non-abrasive toothpaste. Cleure has gentle non-abrasive toothpaste that works well with sensitive teeth, that is safe and effective. Cleure also has fluoride rinse to help with sensitive teeth treatment. The fluoride rinse adds a protective layer over receded gums to help with sensitivity.