If discomfort causes you to cringe when you brush your teeth or drink a cold or hot beverage, you may have sensitive teeth. More than frustrating, the minor discomfort you feel can indicate a bigger problem. Sensitivity is not necessarily a sign that you have a cavity, although because it could be, you want to schedule a visit with your dentist.
In addition to decay, there are several other reasons why you may have sensitive teeth:
Aggressive brushing. This is a problem for many people who are simply trying to get their teeth clean. However, enamel can be worn down by bristles that are too hard, or technique that is too rough. Additionally, abrasive toothpaste can wear down the protective layers of enamel that guard nerves in teeth. To keep your brushing efficient while minimizing enamel erosion, consider using an ultra-sonic toothbrush.
Mouthwash can be beneficial for a number of reasons. It can keep your breath fresher longer and inhibit the formation of bacteria and plaque. However, some products contain harsh chemicals that cause teeth to feel sensitive. If you must gargle, speak with your dentist about recommended products for sensitive teeth.
Also known as teeth grinding and clenching, bruxism can be a habit that is related to stress. The problem is, many people who grind and clench don’t even know it, because they do it when they are asleep. If your dentist suspects that you have bruxism, you will be encouraged to wear a mouth guard formed to your teeth.
Sensitivity can sometime signal that you have a cracked or chipped tooth. With restorative care, the nerves of the tooth can once again be protected from outside elements, minimizing sensitivity.
Old fillings may lose their structural integrity around margins, allowing bacteria to accumulate on enamel. During your routine checkup, your dentist will examine all existing fillings. If they are not properly sealed, replacement may be suggested.