Tooth sensitivity is a common problem, and can affect people in many ways.  It occurs when the nerves within the dentin of a tooth is exposed.  Dentin is the layer below the enamel; it contains thousands of microscopic tubular structures that radiate outward from the center of the tooth.  Changes within these structures can trigger nerve responses–and pain that can range from minor discomfort to excruciating.

Any number of factors can trigger tooth sensitivity, including heat or cold, air, sweets, and pressure.  Sensitivity may be cause by decay, a crack in a tooth, or even by consuming too many acidic foods, which dissolve away protective enamel and expose the tubules.

Studies indicate that nearly 50% of people experience some form of tooth sensitivity.

What can be done?  If the sensitivity is minor, then changes in brushing technique, the use of desensitizing toothpastes, and other simple changes can make a significant difference.  But if the underlying factors behind the sensitivity are more serious, such as decay or tooth damage, then treatment by a dentist is required.

If you are experiencing pain from tooth sensitivity, a dental checkup is in order.  Think about the things that cause the tooth to be sensitive, and if possible bring a list with you (this helps the dentist identify all possible causes).  And don’t wait–sensitivity often signals a problem that only becomes worse with time.

Let Charlotte Dentistry help you find your solution to this sensitive subject.