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Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?

Posted on February 16th, 2020

When you eat, do you avoid chewing with certain areas of your mouth because you know it will cause pain? Do you hate brushing because of the discomfort it causes? Sensitive teeth — also called dentin hypersensitivity — is a common problem that may be caused by any number of underlying issues.

If you live in the Marietta, GA area and suffer from dentin sensitivity, our doctors at Atlanta West Dentistry can help you figure out the root cause of your pain — and discuss how we can bring it to an end. To schedule an appointment, call our office at (770) 941-6979 or request an appointment through our online form.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

The insides of your teeth are made up of a material called dentin, which is filled with nerve endings. The dentin is protected by the hard outer layer of the tooth, or the enamel. When the enamel is compromised, exposing those nerve endings, tooth sensitivity is the painful result. Here are a few reasons your dentin may be exposed:

  • Tooth decay or old, eroded fillings that are no longer doing their job
  • Teeth clenching or grinding that has worn down the enamel
  • Overly aggressive brushing, or using a toothbrush with hard bristles
  • Cracks or chips that expose the dentin
  • Gum recession from periodontal disease that has exposed the tooth roots
  • Erosion from acidic or otherwise damaging foods
  • Temporary sensitivity after a dental procedure

How Is Dentin Sensitivity Treated?

How we eliminate your tooth sensitivity depends on its underlying cause. Only by thoroughly examining your teeth and gums will we be able to figure out the issue and the best course of treatment. Here are a few common ways to treat tooth sensitivity:

  • If you have a cavity or a worn-out filling, we should be able to eliminate your pain with a new filling.
  • If your tooth roots are painfully exposed, we may recommend tooth bonding, in which we cover the tooth roots with a composite resin material that’s perfectly matched to your tooth color.
  • In more severe cases of recession, we may recommend gum graft surgery, which involves covering the exposed roots with tissue harvested from elsewhere in your mouth.
  • If your sensitivity is caused by teeth grinding and clenching (which often occurs while you are sleeping), we can craft a comfortable, custom mouthguard that keeps your jaw in a fixed position at night, preventing grinding and further erosion of your enamel.
  • Fluoride treatments can help repair protective enamel and reduce pain
  • Even if we can’t pinpoint an obvious cause of your dentin sensitivity, we can recommend solutions that may help. There are several kinds of toothpaste on the market specifically for people with sensitive teeth — these may help minimize pain. If you don’t already, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. And avoid acidic foods and beverages that may erode the enamel.

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, your first step should be to call Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta, GA at (770) 941-6979 or fill out our online form. We will help you find the source of your pain and an effective solution.