Sharp or subtle, when teeth become sensitive to the foods you eat or drink, even the activity of your day it affects your quality of life. It also may be affecting your health. A variety of circumstances can lead to tooth sensitivity, all of them indicating that its time to do something different. From serious likelihood of infection to simple remineralization this article can help you determine what actions to start with.
Teeth Are Alive
Teeth are alive, each tooth with it’s own nutrifying blood source, it’s own dedicated nerve and a living ligament to keep it anchored into the jaw bone. For this reason each tooth has the potential to cause you a significant amount of pain if something goes amiss. Think of tooth sensitivity as a red flag, a warning signal, your teeth’s way to communicate with the rest of the body when something is wrong.
Your teeth have several defenses to the help protect and keep them healthy. Below the gum line there is the periodontal ligament and the jawbone, these, paired with the gums themselves are essential to keeping teeth healthy, and alive. They provide protection, ensure healthy blood supply and encapsulate over half of the tooth to provide strength and leverage for chewing and biting. That slippery stuff known as saliva plays another huge role in keeping teeth clean, healthy, strong and alive. Then there is the layer of enamel on the outside of the tooth, enamel also provides strength and bears the burden of being the last line of defense. The stronger your enamel the better teeth can fend off attacks from bacteria and decay, enamel even buffers the effects wear and tear.
A Variety of Causes For Tooth Sensitivity
Triggering tooth sensitivity with a sip of a hot drink, a bite of cold ice cream, sometimes just breathing in fresh air or biting into something sweet is no fun, while getting at the cause can be a bit tricky, many people find it reassuring that tooth sensitivity is fixable. Here are some of the most common related types of tooth sensitivity:
- Sinus problems can make teeth hurt, ache or become sensitive. Pressure in the maxillary sinus just above the jaw bone can push down into the jaw bone and surrounding nerves causing inflammation in surrounding tissues, including the nerve tissues of your teeth.
- Orthodontic work can also make teeth ache, and become sensitive as the teeth and periodontal ligaments are adjusted to their proper alignment.
While the previous causes of tooth sensitivity may not require the attention of your dentist, the next few warrant a call and an appointment as soon as possible
- Infections in the root of a tooth also make teeth hypersensitive to sensation, including hot, cold, sweet and sour, you may not be able to see anything wrong on the tooth or in the mouth.
- Abscesses and periodontal infections tend to be associated with a lot of pain, not just sensitivity to hot or cold. There can, however be just deep sensitivity, especially at the initial onset of infection.
- Cavities. or decay in the tooth itself, can cause tooth sensitivity especially when a cavity is still new and has not fully infected the root.
- Several teeth hurting in one localized area of the mouth can be from;
- Infection, as bacteria multiply and invade surrounding tissues the infection can spread, additionally as infection compounds–or gets worse–the blood supply to healthy tissue becomes compromised thus aiding in the spread of the infection as healthy tissues die.
- Injury, in the instance of a broken tooth or a tooth loosened from trauma, may allow surrounding tissues to become inflamed. The nerve or nerves (if several nearby teeth are also disturbed) become over stimulated and begin sending alarms to the brain that things are in need of repair.
- teeth grinding or bruxism can cause localized sensitivity or even pain. Clenching or grinding the teeth–usually at night or while sleeping–can crack, fracture or even break teeth. The cracks and fissures can cause sensitivity as the enamel can no longer properly protect the nerve inside the tooth. Because of the irregular bite and tooth alignment in some mouths, it is possible to have one area of the mouth affected more than other parts of the mouth.
- Failing dental work. If you have fillings, bridges, crowns or other dental work and the teeth involved or surrounding teeth are sensitive or hurting it could mean your dental work is failing.
So far all of the circumstances we have covered are situations that you may have little control to “fixing” by yourself. While there may be a few other causes of tooth sensitivity the ones in this article are the most typical and the last reason is, by far, one of the most common. Thankfully it is one that you can improve the symptoms of, even sometimes eliminating tooth sensitivity all together.
- Thin, weak, and worn out tooth enamel is the most common cause of sensitive teeth. Your teeth are formed with a dense, strong coating of enamel. As you age, chewing, various foods, and the things you drink wear down and even soften the enamel making it thinner and more porous. Thereby allowing the delicate nerve inside to be over stimulated. Dentist once believed that there was very little to do if tooth enamel began to fail. Modern dentistry has better been able to definitively determine factors that can aid in remineralization of enamel weakened or worn out.
- There are foods and diets that aid in remineralization.
- Oil pulling can increase the enamels ability to absorb good minerals and improve the natural balance of your saliva while reducing pathogens.
- Homemade toothpaste, the best of which employ added minerals, can not only whiten teeth but add needed minerals to reinforce and help fill in overly porous enamel, eventually leading to diminished tooth sensitivity.
For more information on tooth sensitivity click on the links throughout the article or call our office to talk with a specialist today. At Marilyn K Jones Dentisty, we have the skills, experience, and expertise you need to ensure a healthy mouth and teeth. Call or visit today: Marilyn K Jones DDS, (713).785.7767 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.