Do your pearly whites experience pain when you eat or drink something that is hot, or cold? Tooth sensitivity is the sharp burst of pain your teeth feel if you have tooth sensitivity and they touch something hot or cold. This is likely from exposed dentin, that layer of the tooth below the tooth enamel that is filled with microscopic tubules containing nerve endings. The dentin is usually protected by the tooth enamel in the crown, and in the root beneath the crown, the dentin is protected by cementum.
So What Is in That Tooth?
The tooth pulp is the soft tissue in a tooth’s center and is surrounded by the dentin. It is comprised of: blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerve tissue, connective tissue and cells. The pulp is what nourishes the tooth and repairs the dentin.
Cementum is the thin layer of calcified or mineralized tissue covering the root of the tooth and sits inside the gum socket. Cementum is harder than bone but softer than the enamel or dentin.
Dentin is the main part of the tooth. It is harder than bone and softer than enamel and contains microscopic canals, or tubules. These canals transmit pain stimuli and nutrition through the tissues. Dentin gives the tooth its color, grayish white or yellowish.
Tooth enamel is a hard tissue that coats the crown, it is the hardest tissue in the body! After fully forming, it cannot grow or repair itself, but can remineralize–or regain–lost minerals. To remineralize your teeth you must get enough calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D.
Possible Causes of Tooth Sensitivity:
Brushing your teeth with a hard-bristled toothbrush and brushing in a harsh sawing motion
Eating and drinking highly acidic food (soda, tea with lemon, citrus fruits, pickles)
Worn, leaky fillings in your teeth, or broken teeth exposing dentin
Receding gums, or gum recession
Grinding your teeth while you sleep, also called bruxism
Recent dental work such as a crown, fillings, or tooth whitening
Plaque buildup on your teeth
What You Can Do:
To help your teeth minimize sensitivity, try the following: brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Limit your exposure to acidic foods and begin using a densensitizing toothpaste. Avoid harsh abrasives on your teeth such as tartar control toothpastes and tooth whitening. If you suffer from bruxism (nighttime teeth grinding) wear a mouth guard. Your dentist can also help you with tooth sensitivity, depending on the cause. For more information on helping your tooth sensitivity, please call our Family Implant Dentistry team at 785-539-5949 today!