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Tooth Sensitivity

Posted on November 8, 2018 in Dental Health


Do you shiver in discomfort when taking a bite of ice cream? Do you shrink into agony when sipping hot cocoa? If you feel shocks of pain when eating or drinking foods of different temperatures, you may be experiencing symptoms of tooth sensitivity. 

Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity 

If you suffer from dentin hypersensitivity (more commonly referred to as tooth sensitivity) you may feel the discomfort in a single tooth, or feel the pain along your jawline and in your gums when enjoying foods and beverages of different temperatures. Sometimes, flavorful food that is extremely sweet, sour, acidic, or spicy can trigger tooth sensitivity as well. The discomfort can even cause pain in regions of your head that mirrors a migraine.  

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity 

Tooth sensitivity can be triggered by several factors, but is typically the result of thinning enamel or cementum.  Enamel is the protective outside layer of the tooth above the gum line and can be worn down by using a hard toothbrush, brushing too hard, grinding teeth at night, or eating and drinking acidic foods. A receding gum line can also cause sensitivity issues due to portions of the tooth and root being exposed. A layer called cementum protects the tooth and its root below the gum line, and is similar to enamel. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum layers is dentin, which is less dense and can expose the nerves within the tooth to triggers of sensitivity.

Sometimes, more serious causes can be identified. Astroesophageal reflux is a great example. This medical condition causes acid to travel up from the stomach and esophagus into the mouth, which damages enamel. Also, tooth decay or any breaks in the enamel caused by trauma can cause sensitivity. Cavities or loose fillings can cause the sensitivity as well.

Occasionally, dental work can cause temporary tooth sensitivity. Anything from a routine cleaning to dental surgery can result in a change in tooth sensitivity. This side effect is usually short-lived and sensitivity disappears with time. 

Diagnosis of Tooth Sensitivity 

Make an appointment or call 334-279-0760 today. Diagnosis is quick and easy, and typically requires a simple visual exam. Our dentists may also opt to order X-rays to get a better look at potential causes. 

Treatment of Tooth Sensitivity

Sensitive teeth can be treated. Proper oral hygiene is imperative to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. There are several potential treatments one of our dentists at Montgomery Dentistry may recommend. 

Remedies for Tooth Sensitivity 

There are a few at-home remedies that have been known to help alleviate the discomfort of tooth sensitivity; however, professional solutions are always recommended. Consider using a salt water rinse multiple times throughout the day. Salt water can reduce inflammation and the salt acts as an antiseptic. You can step it up a notch by creating a hydrogen peroxide mouth wash solution. The peroxide will heal gums and help to rid your mouth of nasty unwanted germs. Simply double the amount of water for every measurement of peroxide you use in your solution.

Using turmeric to create a toothpaste is another home remedy that can assist in pain management. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Capsaicin and vanilla extract are also known for their ability to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Creating a toothpaste or mouth waste with these elements can numb the pain of tooth sensitivity.  

Prevention of Tooth Sensitivity 

Limiting the amount of acidic foods and beverages you consume protects you against potential tooth sensitivity. Avoiding acidic foods protects the enamel on your teeth – and protecting your enamel protects you from any shocking pains. 

Of course, visiting a dentist at least twice a year is the best preventive solution. If you don’t have a dentist, consider Montgomery Dentistry. New patients and emergencies are always welcome. At Montgomery Dentistry, we offer family dental care with a personal touch. Using the latest dental technology, our patients receive the highest quality care that’s comfortable, convenient, and affordable.

Now that you know more about tooth sensitivity, do what needs to be done so you can enjoy that ice cream cone or hot cup of cocoa without pain. Make an appointment or stop by Montgomery Dentistry today! 


About the Author

Dr. Amy Morrison Anderson

Dr. Amy Morrison Anderson

Dr. Amy Morrison Anderson joined our practice in July 2005.  She is a lifelong resident of Montgomery, and a graduate of Jefferson Davis High School, Auburn University, and the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Dentistry.

She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Alabama Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry.

Dr. Anderson most enjoys doing veneers.  “The reward of seeing my patients’ self-confidence and self-esteem boosted by a beautiful smile is immeasurable.”

Brandon, her husband, is also a graduate of Jefferson Davis High School and Auburn University.  They have one daughter, Bailey Elizabeth, and twin sons, Caden and Cole.

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