Don’t Be Afraid of that Ice Cream Cone
Does the thought of that give you a little shiver? Well, then you’re probably part of the 57 percent of adults between 20 and 50 reporting some degree of cold sensitivity. What’s behind this sensitivity?
Causes of sensitive teeth
Since your teeth have nerves within them (unless a tooth has had a root canal), they are the basis of your sensitivity. Now it’s not as if the nerves are being directly exposed, but an area of your tooth is. Most cold sensitivity occurs at or near the neck of the tooth or at the gumline. This happens because the dentin, the inner portion of the tooth, becomes exposed due to wear on the outer enamel. Also, it can be due to an exposed root surface (below the gumline), a cavity, or a loose filling. Most tooth sensitivity comes from an exposed root.
How do roots become exposed?
The part above the gumline, called the crown, is covered by enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, so it provides great protection. But the roots don’t have enamel. They are covered by cementum, and beneath it, the dentin.
These factors can lead to a root being exposed:
- Improper toothbrushing
- Clenching or grinding the teeth
- Erosion due to acid
- Orthodontic treatments
How can we help with your sensitivity?
At Kalil & Kress, when you complain of tooth sensitivity, we evaluate your tooth and suggest various treatment options — some are simple, some more involved.
- Using a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth
- In-office or home fluoride treatments — fluoride strengthens the enamel and the dentin, reducing sensitivity
- Dietary changes — reducing acidic foods and drinks usually lessens sensitivity
- Crowns or bonded fillings to cover the exposed root area
- Gum grafting to cover the receding gums
- Root canal
Receding gums can be a sign of gingivitis and possible gum disease. Brushing too hard or with a toothbrush with firmer bristles can also make the gums recede, exposing the roots.
If you notice new sensitivity to either cold or hot, that can be a sign of decay in your tooth. Otherwise, if cold sensitivity is always an issue, we can help. Tell us about it next time you’re in for your regular check-up and cleaning. Call us at (603) 880-7004 to make your appointment.