Why Do Teeth Become Sensitive? Some Answers From a Orthodontist in Vancouver WA

sensitive teeth For many years you may have been enjoying frozen treats such as ice cream, yogurt and ice tea. But over time you began to notice your teeth hurting when you dip into the frozen yogurt.

Or maybe you are feeling the reverse and hot drinks are starting to hurt your teeth.

Sometimes even your brushing and flossing can start causing pain. These symptoms may mean you are developing sensitive teeth.

If one particular tooth or area of your mouth is sensitive, you may have tooth decay. If all your teeth are becoming sensitive, it may be that something is wearing down the protective layers on your teeth, exposing the dental nerves.

There is good news. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life eating tepid food. There are steps that can be taken to correct the problem.

The following is a list of causes and treatments for sensitive teeth from the American Dental Association:

  • Possibly you are brushing with too much force or have been using a tooth brush with bristles which are too hard. These two habits can wear down the protective layers of your teeth and expose the microscopic hollow tubes or canals that lead to your dental nerves.  When these tubes are exposed to hot, cold, acidic or tacky foods, tooth sensitivity and discomfort can occur. You need to change your toothbrush. Shop for one with softer bristles. Then be gentler while brushing.
  • Acidic foods can cause pain if your nerves are exposed. Use common sense. Stick to foods without so much acid.
  • If you grind your teeth you can wear down the enamel. Sometimes people grind in their sleep without even realizing they are doing it. The best treatment is a mouth guard. Talk to your dentist about a custom guard made to fit your bite.
  • Some whiting toothpaste can cause tooth sensitivity. Some manufacturers add tooth-whitening chemicals which you could be sensitive to. Try a new toothpaste.
  • Similar to whitening toothpaste, some over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses contain alcohol and other chemicals that can make your teeth more sensitive. Solution: Try neutral fluoride rinses, or simply avoid the rinse and be extra meticulous about flossing and brushing.
  • If your gums have started to recede, you could have more tooth sensitivity. Also gum disease or gingivitis can be the problem. Your dentist may suggest a procedure to seal your teeth along with treating the gum disease itself.
  • Excessive plaque on your teeth can cause sensitivity. A build-up of plaque can cause your enamel to wear away.
  • A chipped or cracked tooth can cause pain.
  • Decay around the edges of fillings
  • Teeth often become more sensitive after you’ve been in the dentist’s chair. If you have braces you know this is true. Your teeth will often be more sensitive after a visit.

If your sensitivity is extreme and persists no matter what you do, contact us at Columbia Orthodontics. We don’t want you to be in more pain than is necessary. We will decide what the best solution for your particular situation is.