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Understanding the Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Posted on 11/15/2023 by Andrew Admin
Close up of a woman with facial painTooth sensitivity, often manifesting as acute discomfort from hot or cold consumables, is a common concern for numerous people. Although it can be quite bothersome, grasping the root causes aids in devising strategies to alleviate this sensitivity. By collaborating with their dentist, patients can delve into the factors instigating this nerve discomfort and seek appropriate remedies to regain oral comfort.

Exposed Dentin and Nerves

Within each tooth, soft pulp tissue containing nerves is protected by hard enamel. But when thinning enamel or receding gums expose the underlying dentin layer, those nerves have less insulation. This leaves them hypersensitive to stimulation. Exposure most often results from enamel erosion from acid or aggressive brushing. As dentin wears down, sensitivity increases.

Mechanisms for Pain Signaling

Dentin contains thousands of tiny tubules leading directly to the nerve-rich pulp. Temperature changes, pressure from probing, or osmotic shifts from sugars and acids cause fluid shifts within these tubules. This activates nerve signaling, which the brain perceives as pain or sensitivity. Cracks and chips in enamel also allow easier access to tubules and their nerve endings.

Factors That Can Exacerbate Sensitivity

While enamel loss is the main prerequisite, multiple factors influence sensitivity severity. Built-up bacterial plaque or tartar irritates exposed surfaces. Inflamed gums also remove protective enamel at the gumline. Grinding or acidic foods erode enamel, enabling easier nerve activation. Even illnesses, stress, and hormonal fluctuations can heighten sensitivity. Identifying contributing factors guides treatment.

Restoring Protection and Relief

Addressing root causes is instrumental in diminishing sensitivity over an extended period-solutions like fluoride treatments, sealants, and specialized kinds of toothpaste work towards sealing exposed tubules. Rinses with anti-inflammatory properties help soothe agitated nerves. For immediate solace, desensitizing gels can momentarily prevent nerve distress. In more pronounced situations, dental interventions such as fillings or crowns might be required to restore the shield provided by enamel. It's advisable to consult with your dentist to identify the most suitable remedy for your needs.

While annoying, tooth sensitivity is manageable with the right strategies. Knowing what provokes those nerves allows you and your dentist to formulate targeted treatment for lasting pain relief.

Parkside Dental

703 E. FM 544 Suite 100
Murphy, TX 75094

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