Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

September 2, 2016 — by Dr.Thomas Tang
Tags: General Dentistry Restorative Dentistry

Illustration of a healthy toothThe teeth play an important role in oral functions. Aside from biting and chewing, the teeth also help people to speak and enunciate their words properly. It is important that the teeth be strong and healthy so they can assist in these functions. It is just as important that patients be able to perform these oral functions in comfort. General dentistry services help patients maintain good oral health so that the teeth will not become worn down or damaged. A common side effect of dental damage is tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity should serve as a warning sign to patients. Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold tells our Brookfield, WI patients that it’s time for a dental exam. At a dental evaluation, Dr. Thomas Tang can diagnose the cause of tooth sensitivity and offer treatment that will strengthen the teeth and restore oral comfort.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

At the center of each tooth lies the nerves, or sensitive tissues. These tissues are surrounded by a layer of dentin, which is then surrounded by a hard, protective layer of enamel. If the enamel is strong and healthy, patients should not experience any pain or sensitivity. However, as tooth enamel becomes worn down or damaged, the dentin (and possibly the nerves) become exposed, and the teeth will likely become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. There are several types of oral health problems that can cause this sensitivity, including the following:

  • Acid erosion
  • Dental decay
  • A chip, crack, or fracture
  • Root canal infection
  • Damaged dental work

Treating Sensitivity

To effectively treat tooth sensitivity, we must address the cause of the condition. Dr. Tang offers a full range of restorative dentistry treatments that can rebuild damaged tooth enamel to restore a strong layer of protection for the tooth’s inner nerves. Dr. Tang will determine which of these treatment options is most appropriate for each patient based on the type of damage that is present and how extensive that damage is. Below are some of the treatment options that are most commonly used to treat tooth sensitivity:

  • Dental bonding
  • Dental filling
  • Dental crown
  • Root canal therapy

Each of these treatments addresses damage, rebuilds the outer layer of tooth structure, and protects the sensitive inner nerve tissues.

Preventing Sensitivity

There are several steps a patient can take to preserve healthy tooth enamel and prevent tooth sensitivity. By practicing the following habits, patients can ensure that the teeth remain strong and oral functions remain comfortable:

  • Brush at least twice a day, using gentle strokes and a toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Consider using a toothpaste designed for sensitivity
  • Floss daily
  • Schedule dental exams and cleanings at least twice a year
  • Limit foods that are high in sugars or starches, and those that are highly acidic
  • Avoid bad dental habits such as nail biting, clenching, and grinding

Contact Us

Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures is often a sign that professional dental care is required. If you are concerned about your oral comfort level, Dr. Thomas Tang can help. Contact us at your earliest convenience to find out how our restorative dentistry services can rebuild a strong and functional smile.