North East Modbury Medical and Dental Centre

What Does Tooth Sensitivity Mean?

North East Modbury Medical and Dental Centre – Sometimes we may feel pain or discomfort when having hot or cold foods or drinks, or even when we brush and floss. Some of us naturally have more sensitive teeth, but if eating, drinking, and daily oral care are causing pain, this is usually a sign that something is wrong.

A dentist can tell you what is causing your tooth sensitivity and may recommend treatments or lifestyle changes to reduce the problem, so you can hopefully go back to enjoying your favourite foods and drinks without discomfort.

Why do my teeth feel sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity can happen suddenly or gradually. It may be mild, or chronic, and may only affect one tooth, or several teeth in your mouth.

Sensitive teeth may be triggered by:

  • Eating or drinking something hot, cold, sweet, or acidic
  • Breathing in cold air
  • Brushing or flossing your teeth
  • Using mouthwash

All teeth are sensitive to a degree, but the hard external layer (enamel) normally reduces this sensitivity so we can enjoy food and drink in a range of temperatures.

If some of the enamel wears away, or a tooth is damaged, the more sensitive inner layer of the tooth (dentine) will be exposed. If damage or erosion (acid wear) reaches the interior of the tooth (nerve), this can cause chronic tooth pain.

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What causes tooth sensitivity?

There can be many reasons why teeth start to feel more sensitive. Some people naturally have more sensitive teeth, but sensitivity is more commonly the result of:

  • Tooth decay caused by bacteria and plaque
  • Tooth erosion from acidic food and drink, vomiting or reflux
  • Chips and cracks in teeth
  • Gum disease or receding gums exposing the tooth roots
  • Brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard bristle toothbrush
  • Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism)
  • Damaged fillings, crowns, or other dental work
  • Sensitivity following dental treatment (usually temporary)
  • A side-effect of cosmetic treatments, such as dental veneers or teeth whiting

Your dentist will aim to find out the cause of your tooth sensitivity so they can recommend effective treatments.

How do dentists fix sensitive teeth?

When you make an appointment with a dentist to discuss tooth sensitivity, you will be asked about your symptoms and arrange an examination of your teeth and gums.

Treatment recommendations will depend on the cause of the sensitivity, how severe it is and how many teeth are affected. Treatment options may include:

  • Changing your daily oral care routine or diet
  • Visiting your dentist for a hygiene appointment
  • Placing a dental crown, filling, or other restoration
  • Root canal therapy to treat the infected tooth
  • Gum disease treatment or surgical graft
  • Bruxism treatment to reduce teeth grinding

How to avoid tooth sensitivity

Sensitive teeth can’t always be avoided, but you can lower your risk of pain and discomfort by following your dentist’s advice and taking good care of your oral health every day. This includes:

  • Careful brushing and flossing using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Cutting down on sugar and acidic food and drinks
  • Getting plenty of calcium in your diet to help rebuild teeth
  • Wearing a sports mouthguard to help prevent injuries
  • Keeping up with your scheduled dental visits

Do you need to see a dentist in Modbury?

Visit us at Tea Tree Dental, situated near Tea Tree Plaza, we can help treat sensitivity and develop a treatment plan to ensure the best care for your teeth. We aim to balance your dental health needs with your priorities ensuring you leave us completely satisfied. Feel free to talk to us for further advice and information on 08 7226 3559.

Contact Us

Modbury Dental Clinic

966 North East Road,
Modbury, SA, 5092

Phone: (08) 7226 3559