What’s Behind Tooth Sensitivity?

SensiTeeth3Do you find yourself avoiding hot or cold foods and beverages because they cause you to feel pain or discomfort? A look at the tooth’s structure can help us understand why teeth become sensitive.

In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line, a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.

Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Some of the things that cause dentin to be exposed include: tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, or receding gums. The result can be hypersensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be treated and it’s best to find out the cause of the sensitivity as early as possible by visiting a dentist. As with many other health problems, early treatment is less costly and less invasive.

SensiCrest3Depending on what is causing the sensitivity, your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments:

  • A desensitizing toothpaste which contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve
  • An in-office treatment of fluoride gel to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the transmission of sensations
  • A crown, inlay or bonding, as needed, to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity
  • A surgical gum graft if gum tissue has been lost from the root; this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity
  • A root canal if sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means

If you are experiencing sensitivity, be sure to give Angell’s Dentistry a call at (248) 362-4330 to make an appointment with Dr. Douglas Angell. Once he examines your mouth, he can recommend the proper treatment to reduce or eliminate the discomfort.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check us out at www.angellsdentistry.com.

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