Understanding Tooth Sensitivity: Causes, Solutions, and Dental Care Tips

Illustration showing the structure of a tooth and the causes of sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common dental concern that affects millions of individuals throughout their lives. It manifests as tooth pain in response to heat or cold, and while some cases are easily resolved, others may indicate underlying dental issues. As the proud owners of Metro Decatur Dental Group PC, we are committed to providing you with valuable insights into sensitive teeth and their relationship with our vibrant Decatur community.

The Anatomy of Sensitive Teeth:

To understand tooth sensitivity better, let’s explore the composition of our teeth. The protective outer layer of our teeth is known as enamel, which encases the dentin—a softer, porous layer underneath. In the gum-rooted area, the dentin is safeguarded by a thin, hard layer called cementum. Deep within the tooth lies the root canal, housing nerves and blood vessels within a substance known as pulp.

Unveiling the Culprits Behind Tooth Sensitivity:

When dentin becomes exposed, tooth sensitivity arises. There are several factors that can contribute to this condition:

  • Enamel Erosion and Decay: Poor oral hygiene can lead to bacterial build-up, causing enamel erosion and decay.
  • Aggressive Brushing: Brushing too vigorously or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can wear away enamel over time.
  • Acidic Foods and Beverages: Consumption of highly acidic items like soft drinks or energy drinks can contribute to enamel erosion.
  • Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Clenching or grinding teeth, especially during sleep, can wear down enamel.
  • Cracks or Cavities: Undetected cracks or cavities in teeth can lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • Loose or Decayed Fillings: Old fillings that become loose or develop decay can cause sensitivity when fluids irritate the nerve through the exposed dentin.
  • Dental Procedures: Professional teeth whitening or bleaching can lead to temporary tooth sensitivity, and some tooth whitening toothpaste may irritate hypersensitive teeth.
  • Gum Disease: Receding gums due to gum disease expose dentin, leading to sensitivity.


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