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Understanding Tooth Sensitivity

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Dental professionals often hear patients express concern about tooth sensitivity.  There are many factors that contribute to this common phenomenon.  Some of the most common causes are recession of the gums, chipped or worn teeth, enamel erosion, teeth grinding, and abrasive toothpaste.

Rather than suffer the inconvenience of hypersensitive teeth, trust the expertise of your Smithfield family dentist for a satisfying solution.

In order to understand a little about sensitivity, it helps to understand a little about teeth.  Enamel is the outer layer of the tooth and protects the inner layer of dentin as well as the innermost chamber that contains the nerve of the tooth.  If an outside stimulus such cold air or a hot beverage sends signals that are allowed to reach the nerve, the nerve signals the brain of any sensitivity we are experiencing from that stimulus.

One of the ways these signals can reach the nerve is when there is damage to the enamel by either erosion from frequent exposure to acidic foods and beverages, abrasion from abrasive toothpaste, or a chip or cavity in the tooth that exposes the dentin.  Another way for these signals to reach the nerve is gum recession. When gums recede, the root surface is exposed.  This root surface is covered by a protective outer layer that is thinner than enamel, allowing signals to pass through the dentin to the nerve.  Teeth grinding also causes sensitivity by placing extra stress on the ligaments that surround the tooth and hold it in place.

Because there are so many possible causes of tooth sensitivity, it is best to see your dentist to find out the cause of your particular symptoms so that they can be treated correctly.

If your sensitivity is caused by teeth grinding, a night guard can be custom made for you to prevent you from grinding at night.  If there is exposed dentin in any of your teeth, a filling or bonding material may be placed to protect it.  Professional fluoride treatments or desensitizers may be given to help block these signals, and your dental professional may also recommend a special type of toothpaste for sensitivity or an over-the-counter fluoride mouth rinse.

Contact your Dentist in Smithfield NC today to learn more.

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