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Tooth sensitivity is a very common dental problem that many people face. Tooth sensitivity is actually a nickname for what we dentists call “dentin hypersensitivity” or root sensitivity. Typically, if there are certain things that make your teeth hurt such as hot or cold temperatures or certain sweet or acidic foods you probably have tooth sensitivity. Even something as simple as breathing in cold air on a crisp winter’s day can have you feeling that uncomfortable sting. Many people just accept their fate and continue to go through life with this pain. Luckily there are plenty of things that you can do to help cope with tooth sensitivity but first off it’s important to understand what it is and how it happens. Keep reading to learn more! 


Starting off, tooth sensitivity is something that is extremely common. In fact, according to Colgate Professional it’s estimated that about nearly half the population experiences some form of tooth sensitivity throughout their life. Tooth sensitivity can also come and go at times. 


Why Are My Teeth Sensitive? 

So why does tooth sensitivity happen? Well the short answer is that tooth sensitivity is usually caused by dentin, which is on the root of the tooth, becoming exposed due to receding gums or periodontal disease. Receded gums are a common thing and as we age, the more likely we are to have receding gums, which is why tooth sensitivity can be common among older adults.


When the root of a tooth becomes exposed, that layer of the tooth does not have the same layer of enamel as the other parts of the tooth. Enamel is a protective layer over the exposed part of your tooth. Instead of enamel, the root of your tooth has a soft covering which is called cementum and if this is lost, it leaves the dentin of the tooth exposed. The exposure of the dentin can come from a variety of  things such as brushing your teeth too hard, high acid diets, and other illnesses can all have effects on a person’s teeth. 


Like we mentioned earlier, many people go through life experiencing tooth sensitivity but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s important to tell your dentist about any tooth sensitivity so that they can examine your teeth and help you choose the best treatment. Most of the time treating tooth sensitivity is relatively easy and painless.    


Can I Prevent It?

You can reduce the chances of getting tooth sensitivity by keeping up with your oral hygiene. Attending routine cleanings as well as brushing and flossing twice a day can help prevent receding gums and periodontal disease. Eating a diet that is low or free of acidic foods can also help. You shouldn’t ignore your sensitive teeth. Ignoring tooth sensitivity can lead to other oral health problems, especially if the pain is keeping you from brushing or flossing your teeth. Poor brushing and flossing can lead your mouth to become vulnerable to tooth decay, gum disease, and other things. 


What Is Treatment Like?

Every case is different but the first step is to talk to your dentist. They will be able to guide you in the best direction and make sure that the treatment fits into your specific needs based off of any dental history or previous dental work done. One of the easiest ways to treat sensitivity is to try a toothpaste that is made for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes make the teeth less sensitive and also contain fluoride to help protect your teeth against decay. Other treatments may include treatments that are painted onto the teeth like fluoride varnishes, plastic resins, and fillings depending on the size of the area of the tooth. 


At Smiles By Dr. Santos we want all of our patients to have the smile that they deserve without the pain and annoyance of tooth sensitivity! Our office in Manahawkin provides a wide arrangement of services that range from general dentistry to cosmetic procedures. As one of the areas top dentist offices, we are proud to offer comfortable dental experiences with some of the top dentists around. Connect with us today to set up an appointment and be done with tooth sensitivity once and for all!