Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

By Robert W. Hessberger, DDS on January 04, 2019

A woman smiling in the mirrorPain or sensitivity is usually a sign that something is wrong. That’s especially true when it comes to your teeth. If you notice any sort of pain or discomfort in your mouth, it’s usually a good indication that you’re experiencing a health issues that a dentist should address. Dr. Robert W. Hessberger always encourages his Chicago, IL patients to mention any kind of discomfort to him so the matter can be looked into in greater detail.

Below, we want to go over some common causes of tooth sensitivity. Advanced restorative dentistry treatments can reduce tooth sensitivity and address the underlying cause of the issue. Even if you’re months away from your next regular checkup, you can contact our practice and we will address your concerns.

Tooth Decay

When you develop a cavity, it exposes more of the underlying structure of your teeth. Extensive tooth decay can be particularly uncomfortable, increasing the risk for many other health problems. Thanks to dental fillings and other restorations, these problems can be dealt with quickly and easily.

Dental Erosion

Dental erosion is caused by an acidic pH in the mouth that softens and weakens the tooth enamel. Exposure of the underlying layers of tooth structure can lead to sensitivity if not outright pain. Dental restorations are ideal at repairing the damage done.

Fractured Teeth

A chip or crack can expose underlying layers of tooth structure just like tooth decay or acidic erosion. Fixing the damage will typically alleviate sensitivity. A veneer or a crown may be recommended to repair the damaged structure of the tooth.

Gum Recession

As the gum recede, it exposes more of the root portion of a tooth that is usually concealed by the gumline. The exposure of this part of a tooth can lead to sensitivity. Gum grafting and other periodontal procedures may be considered to restore the gumline.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Grinding your teeth can lead to wear and tear on your teeth. In addition to fractures on the teeth as they make contact, the pressure can also result in gum recession over time. A night guard can be worn at night to alleviate teeth grinding. Orthodontic treatments and relaxation techniques can help manage the gnashing and clenching.

Teeth Whitening

After undergoing teeth whitening treatment, it’s not uncommon for patients to notice some tooth sensitivity for a few days. This is because the bleaching agent penetrates the enamel and potentially reaches the dentin layer, which is porous. This leaves the teeth feeling extra sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure.

The sensitivity fades on its own after a few days. Professional in-office teeth whitening and carefully following instructions on at-home dental bleaching kits can help minimize the degree of sensitivity you experience.

New Dental Restorations

Sometimes a new crown, veneer, or restoration takes a bit of time to get used to. In that adjustment period, you may experience tooth sensitivity. Try to eat soft, room temperature foods for the first week or so. If the problem doesn’t improve after two weeks, your dentist should give the new dental work another look.

Learn More About Tooth Sensitivity

For more information about addressing tooth sensitivity and improving your dental health, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. Dr. Hessberger looks forward to your visit. You can reach our practice by phone at (773) 792-5562.

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