What Causes Sudden Tooth Sensitivity?

Young Woman With Sensitive Teeth And Cold Ice Cream At Home

What Causes Sudden Tooth Sensitivity?

Young Woman With Sensitive Teeth And Cold Ice Cream At Home

You take a sip of your iced tea and you feel a painful sensation in your teeth. It’s a similar feeling when you enjoy your hot morning coffee or brush your teeth. The likely culprit? Sensitive teeth.

Many people suffer from this common condition and it can interfere with the types of foods or beverages they consume. In fact, 1 in 8 adults in the U.S. experience over-sensitive teeth. Luckily, our Portage dentist can help you find relief.

Here are the symptoms, possible causes, treatment options, and prevention tips for sensitive teeth.

Common Symptoms

The biggest symptom if you have sensitive teeth is radiating pain, much like a toothache. More specifically, the discomfort is at the roots of the affected teeth.

Sensitivity becomes more obvious when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages. Cold air, brushing and flossing teeth, or using alcohol-based mouthwash can also result in discomfort. Symptoms can range from mild to intense and appear when triggered.

Pinning Down a Cause

Because having sensitive teeth is a commonly shared condition, several factors could be at play. Some individuals even experience tooth sensitivity naturally due to age. Our dentist will need to inspect your teeth and gums to determine what the exact cause is.

Some of the possible causes of sensitive teeth include:

  • Exposed tooth root
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Fractured teeth
  • Fillings that are worn or damaged
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay or cavities
  • Aggressive brushing
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth at night
  • Regular consumption of acidic foods or beverages

Is There Treatment?

Fortunately, there are ways to treat sensitive teeth. The caveat, however, is that the treatment depends on what the cause of sensitivity is. Our dentist will need to perform a dental exam to check your mouth.

The findings from the examination will then influence the ultimate decision on treatment. If you have mild tooth sensitivity, our dentist may recommend a desensitizing toothpaste or a softer toothbrush. A fluoride gel applied to your teeth to strengthen enamel may also prove helpful.

Treatment options for more severe cases may include a:

  • Gum graft for receding gums
  • Root canal
  • Custom-made mouthguard to discourage grinding

Underlying medical conditions contributing to sensitivity should also be treated separately to prevent further damage to enamel.

Tips to Prevent Tooth Sensitivity

Assuming you are not predisposed to sensitive teeth, there are ways to prevent the condition altogether. You may have to make a lifestyle adjustment, such as watching the foods that you eat. Other tips are easy, like regularly practicing oral hygiene habits.

Tooth enamel serves as the hard, protective layer for your teeth. When this covering wears down, the layer beneath your enamel, dentin, becomes exposed. Dentin is less dense and contains small, hollow tubules. Exposed tubules allow cold, hot, or acidic food and beverages to better reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. This causes sensitivity.

You can prevent the onset of tooth sensitivity at home with these tips:

  • Don’t brush too hard and use a soft toothbrush
  • Avoid acidic foods or drinks, i.e., soda, candy
  • Seek treatment for teeth clenching or grinding to protect enamel
  • Ask our dentist about current or future whitening or bleaching treatment as it can result in sensitivity
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily
  • Stay away from abrasive toothpaste

Call Today

Sensitive teeth could be a warning sign that something is wrong. Our dentist in Portage, MI, can examine your mouth and find the underlying cause. We can also provide guidance on next steps and ways to alleviate discomfort. Make an appointment today by calling Courtside Dental at (269) 327-1011 or feel free to contact us online.