Why Do Some People Have Sensitive Teeth?

Why Do Some People Have Sensitive Teeth?

types of tooth painWhen you drink something hot or cold and experience pain or discomfort in your teeth, it is highly probable that you have sensitive teeth. What actually causes sensitive teeth and why is it that not everyone suffers from this? Can sensitive teeth be cured?

There are actually a couple of kinds of sensitivity that teeth experience. One is called dentinal sensitivity and the other is called pulpal sensitivity. Dentinal sensitivity affects the tooth’s dentin, or the middle layer of your tooth. This part of your tooth is found underneath the enamel and is supposed to be protected by this outer layer. When enamel wears away, and the dentin is exposed, tooth sensitivity occurs.

Dentinal sensitivity can affect more than one tooth at a time, and can be the result of enamel stripping caused by the harsh brushing of your teeth, as well as the natural progression of time wearing out a person’s teeth. Another culprit that can be blamed for this is poor dental hygiene, which allows the buildup of plaque around the gum line, which then exposes the dentin found underneath this.

Other causes of the thinning of your enamel and the exposure of dentin include the eating of acidic foods, and whitening your teeth even when the roots of your teeth are exposed. You will also find that cracks in old dental fillings, cavities that are not treated, and receding gums are also causes if dentinal sensitivity.

Pulpal sensitivity on the other hand, is when you feel pain upon biting or chewing. This is usually sensitivity that affects one tooth at a time, and is caused usually by a crack in your tooth, a broken dental filling, or untreated tooth decay. This can also be brought about by a recent dental filling.

Both types of sensitivity can be prevented with proper oral hygiene, and both can be treated as well. To further prevent dentinal sensitivity, use toothpaste with fluoride protection to help protect your tooth’s enamel. You can also choose to use softer toothbrushes and practicing gentler toothbrush strokes.

If you are already suffering from sensitive teeth, have no fear since these two types are also treatable. Dentinal sensitivity can be treated by your dentist with a fluoride varnish, which can temporarily lower the sensitivity of your teeth. Your dentist can also suggest a new treatment that uses lasers which reduces the sensitivity of the tubules in your teeth.

Pulpal sensitivity is usually treated with the help of a root canal, since more-often-than-not, the tooth in question may already have a damaged or dead nerve. Once the root canal is performed, the space where the nerve once was will be filled with a non-reactive substance and a filling or crown placed over this. Another treatment includes the fixing of the broken or cracked tooth that is causing the pain.

Dental sensitivity, as you can see, is not something that is inborn as some people may think. It can be avoided with proper dental hygiene and frequent visits to your dentists for the proper care of your gums and teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly, using a good fluoride toothpaste, and avoiding enamel thinning substances should also be on your list of must-dos if you are aiming to avoid dental sensitivity altogether.

Dr. Allan Hawryluk
Follow Us

Dr. Allan Hawryluk

Allan Hawryluk Jr. is a Mississauga-based dentist who has built a reputation for comprehensive dental care. Born and raised in Port Credit, he returned after completing his dental residency in 2003 at the University of Colorado, Denver Health Sciences Center. He feels privileged to serve the community and is committed to maintaining our clinic standards set by his late father - Dr. Allan R. Hawryluk (Sr).