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Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

Almost everyone at one time or another has suffered from sensitive teeth. Sensitivity to cold, hot, biting and foods are the most common. Diagnosing the cause is not always an easy task as more than one cause is usually a factor. In this article, I will touch on the most common causes and treatments.


Gum Recession

As we age our gums naturally recede. The rate at which this recession occurs can be accelerated by aggressive brushing in combination with a stiff toothbrush and overuse of toothpaste. When gums recede, sensitive root surfaces are exposed causing tooth sensitivity to temperatures, most commonly cold, and sugary sweet foods. Root sensitivity, depending on the severity, can be treated with sensitivity toothpastes, tooth colored fillings or, in severe cases, gum surgery to cover exposed roots.



Bruxism, otherwise known as grinding, can lead to sensitive teeth, most commonly temperature and biting sensitivity. Headaches are also associated with bruxism. Clenching can cause the same symptoms but without the excessive tooth wear noted in bruxism. Along with tooth sensitivity, bruxism and clenching, can cause gum recession which creates one more thing to treat. Mouth splints, worn primarily at night, can prevent the damaging effects of bruxism and clenching.



Tooth decay can cause tooth sensitivity primarily to sugary sweet foods. Limiting sugar intake, daily brushing and flossing along with regular dental checkups are the best ways to prevent tooth decay.



Sinus infections can cause temperature and pressure sensitivity in upper back molar teeth. Treatment with antibiotics and decongestants will usually give relief in 2-5 days. Tooth infections from deep cavities or severe gum disease can cause tooth sensitivity but likely will result in pain as opposed to sensitivity. If not treated, more severe, potentially life threatening infections can occur.

Sensitive teeth will usually have more than one cause and more than one treatment. If you suffer from chronic tooth sensitivity call us and we can help - (225) 926-4203!

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