If you’ve ever bitten into an ice cream cone, you may have felt the sharp, zapping pain associated with tooth sensitivity. However, temperature isn’t the only thing that can cause sensitive teeth. If you’ve noticed that your teeth are touchier than usual, a visit to the dentist is in order. Luckily, most causes of tooth sensitivity can be easily treated, including cavities and cracks.
At Dentistry in Paradise in Santa Barbara, California, Dr. Kevin Miller can help patients with tooth sensitivity overcome their issues. Whether there is an underlying cause like periodontal disease that can be treated by your dentist or it’s a matter of changing your toothpaste or oral hygiene routine, he can help.
Common causes of sensitive teeth
There are plenty of reasons that your teeth might hurt, but narrowing down the type of pain you’re feeling can help diagnose the cause. Throbbing pain is often caused by urgent, acute problems, while sensitive or occasionally painful teeth might indicate another issue.
Your teeth are coated in enamel, which protects your teeth and the nerves inside. Once enamel is gone, it’s gone for good because it cannot be replaced. Sugary or acidic foods, teeth grinding, and even brushing too hard can all wear away your enamel, causing sensitivity.
One common side effect of bleaching products is tooth sensitivity, and your chances of experiencing it increase the more you whiten your teeth. If you frequently use whitening strips, gels, or at-home kits, consider opting for an annual whitening instead. In the meantime, avoid staining agents like wine and soda.
Our teeth, sinuses, and ears are in close proximity, which means pain can radiate among them. If your tooth sensitivity comes with congestion, facial headaches, and a possible earache, there’s a good chance you might have a sinus infection.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, which causes your gums to recede. This leaves more of your teeth exposed, which causes sensitivity. If you’ve noticed that your teeth seem longer and whiter near the base, consult with your dentist about gum disease.
When to visit a dentist
General tooth sensitivity is often something that can wait until your annual cleaning, but you shouldn’t take pain lightly — especially when it comes to your teeth. Schedule a visit with your dentist if you experience:
- Persistent pain
- Trouble eating food at manageable temperatures
- Red or receding gums
- No improvement, even after using sensitive teeth toothpaste
Though occasionally sensitive teeth are nothing to worry about, you should keep an eye on the issue to make sure it isn’t escalating. You can also prevent sensitive teeth by brushing gently, avoiding hot/cold foods, and limiting the sugar and acid in your diet.
Need help ascertaining the source of your tooth sensitivity? Call our office at 805-967-0272, or make an appointment online today.