What causes tooth sensitivity?

 Tooth sensitivity has become an ongoing concern for many individuals, young and old. It is most often noticed when drinking/eating something cold or sweet. Some people may experience it when brushing their teeth or while having their professional dental cleaning. There are a number of things that can cause tooth sensitivity which include gum recession, tooth abrasion, tooth abfraction and erosion.  Recession is when the gum recedes and root surface is exposed. Abrasion is the removal of tooth structure by aggressive brushing which results in thinning of the enamel. Abfraction is the loss of tooth structure along the gum line caused by traumatic forces on the teeth from poor occlusion, clenching and grinding. Lastly, erosion is tooth wear via acid exposure to the enamel from acidic foods and drinks or acid reflux. When tooth structure is lost due to the above reasons, dentin or cementum is left exposed. The tooth has microscopic tubules,  that run from the inner nerve of the tooth to the outside. Therefore, when these tubules are left exposed to the outside environment, fluid movement through the tubules to the nerve causes a response such as pain and sensitivity.

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, it is important to see your dentist at North Delta Dental for an evaluation to assess the source of the sensitivity.  Dr. Tham and his team will then make the appropriate recommendations which may include use of sensitivity toothpaste, protective restorations or an oral appliance.

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