Tooth sensitivity is caused by the dentin’s exposure – the underlying layer of the teeth, due to enamel layer loss or recession of the gums. The roots, which are not covered by hard enamel, contain thousands of tiny tubules or pores that run from the outside of the tooth and right to the central nerve. With exposed dentin, the tubules can be stimulated by temperature changes in some food, which can cause the tooth or teeth to be painful.
Dentists can look for the signs of dentin exposure, which will confirm that you have sensitive teeth. They will also run tests to determine the underlying cause of tooth sensitivity. By properly identifying the cause of sensitivity, the dentist will be able to recommend the appropriate treatment. Dentists may recommend:
- Use of desensitizing toothpaste to help block the pain associated with sensitive teeth.
- Application of fluoride to the sensitive areas of the teeth to strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce the pain.
- If receding gums cause sensitive teeth, the dentist may apply a sealant to cover the exposed root surfaces.
- Root canal is an option recommended if other treatments fail. This procedure is used to treat problems in the tooth’s soft core or dental pulp.
While there are a number of treatments available for sensitive teeth, it is best that the dentist recommend the one that will work best in your situation, taking into account various factors. The best way to treat sensitive teeth is to seek the dentist’s help in diagnosing and addressing the problems.