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6 Causes of Sensitive Teeth

6 Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Do you ever get a jolt of pain when eating something hot or drinking something cold? You’re not alone, it’s been said that 1 in 8 people have sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth may affect your quality of life, preventing you from enjoying your favorite food or drinks. Discomfort from sensitive teeth may come and go, now lets talk about why!

Exposed root surfaces

Many things may cause your root surface to be exposed, and when it happens your teeth may become sensitive! People with gum disease usually experience gum recession. As gum tissue pulls away from the tooth, the tooth root is exposed. You’re root does not have that protective layer of enamel, causing all your tubules (nerve endings) to be exposed to things like cold ice cream and hot pumpkin spice lattes we all love. Sadly, you can’t regrow your gums so once your root is exposed its exposed for good. One common way to replace missing gum tissue is with a gum graft.

Brushing too hard

Your gums have a mind of their own and if you are rough on them they will run away from you! But seriously, you can actually brush your gums away, causing root exposure which you now know is sensitivity central! When the root is exposed from excessive brushing a deeper notch may form if you continue to brush hard. Many times your dentist will need to bond a filling to the root surface to protect against tooth sensitivity and continued toothbrush abrasion.

Grinding teeth

Have you ever woken up with sore jaw muscles or headaches? You might be grinding your teeth! Constant pressure throughout the night can cause sensitive teeth. An easy way to keep your tooth grinding under control is to wear a night guard. Night guards are similar to a retainer. They are made to fit your teeth perfectly and take the pressure off of your mouth so you can sleep comfortably. If you think your grinding your teeth at night contact your dentist to see if a night guard is for you!

Tooth decay/worn fillings

We all know cavities can be painful, but did you know old fillings can cause sensitivity? Cracks can develop around old fillings causing a leak into the tooth. You should see your dentist immediately to have the tooth treated. A delay could result in the tooth breaking or a cavity into the nerve of the tooth. By waiting and allowing this to happen you may need to have a root canal or porcelain crown. So, if you experience sensitivity when eating sweets, hot/cold foods, or crunchy foods come see your favorite Knoxville dentist and get those older fillings checked out!

Post dental treatment

If you’ve ever had dental work done you may experienced some sensitivity at the filling or crown was done. This sensitivity is usually temporary, just your mouth getting used to a new foreign object, and the sensitivity will subside. On the other hand, fillings might not always fit just right and your dentist will make adjustments to stop that annoying sensitive feelings from happening.


Whitening is a popular reason people experience sensitivity. The whitening chemicals could keep your teeth sensitive for up to two weeks after you stop whitening your teeth. Many dentists instruct patients to use a sensitivity toothpaste prior to whitening their teeth and continue throughout their whitening treatment. There are also products like Crest  Sensi-Stop strips that may help with acute tooth sensitivity.
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