Why Your Teeth Are So Sensitive

Teeth sensitivity can cause unexpected pain when you eat or drink something that is too cold or too hot. Sometimes sugary snacks and treats can also cause unexpected pain due to teeth sensitivity. What causes this irritation inside our mouths?

There are a number of underlying reasons for teeth sensitivity. These could include one or more of the following:

  • Tooth Decay
  • Cavities
  • Gum Disease
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Exposed Roots
  • Worn/Loose Fillings
  • Worn Enamel Layer

Inside the teeth, as well as in the gum tissue are a series of nerves and nerve endings. Part of these nerves and nerve endings are in the inner pulp layer of the teeth protected by the dentin layer. The dentin is essentially the bulk of the tooth structure which is below the outer enamel layer. There is also a thin cementum layer over the dentin on the part of the tooth that makes up the root structure.

When the dentin layer is exposed, the tooth can become more sensitive. There are very small tubules in the dentin that connect to the inner pulp layer of the tooth. Inside the pulp layers are a series of nerves and nerve endings.

As you take a bite or drink of something hot or cold, when it touches the exposed dentin layer, it can extend inside to the nerves and nerve endings. Then, you experience the all too familiar pain and discomfort.

Causes for Teeth Sensitivity

One of the most common causes for teeth becoming sensitive is brushing too hard. When there is an excessive amount of force used on the teeth, not only does it slowly wear down the enamel layer, but can also irritate the gums.

When gum tissue is irritated, it initially may become sore, swollen, and bleed. If hard brushing continues, eventually the tissue recedes as a response to avoid the excessive force of the bristles scraping over the gum tissue.

As you can imagine, with receded gum tissue, more of the tooth structure along the base of root is exposed. With ongoing hard brushing, the cementum layer is brushed away, leaving the dentin unprotected.

Another thing that can cause teeth to become sensitive is eating too many acidic foods. When you eat citrus fruits, like lemons, limes, and grapefruits, or tomatoes on a regular basis, they can slowly cause enamel erosion. Eventually, the dentin can be exposed and the teeth will become sensitive.

One bad habit people have that actually can lead to teeth sensitivity is chewing and crunching on ice. The coldness of the ice can create micro-fractures in the enamel layer. Over time, the fractures can become wide enough to expose the dentin layer. Once the dentin is exposed, teeth sensitivity can be an issue.

If you have issues with teeth sensitivity, it is important to visit a dentist to determine the causes and potential treatments. To schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact Arborg Family Dental at (204) 376-2624 today!