The Causes of Dental Sensitivity
Dental sensitivity is very common. Sensitivity to eating and drinking hot and cold is not normal and may be indicative of disease. What are the causes?
- Tooth decay. As a cavity grows and comes closer to the nerve of one’s tooth the thermal layer that was covering the nerve is now thinner.
- Gum disease. Gun disease, because of bone loss, uncovers portions of the root surface. The root, by definition, lacks that protective enamel covering and can be sensitive to hot or cold.
- The nerve of the tooth is sick. Due to trauma, disease, or extensive dental work ( a type of trauma) the nerve of the tooth can become especially sensitive.
- Occlusion. The refers to the bite. Either from excessive involuntary grinding and clenching of one’s teeth at night or from a filling or crown that is “too tall” the tooth becomes overly sensitive to thermal exposure. Think of a rock in one’s shoe-everything hurts!
- Recent filling. The most common filling materials in use today are the white fillings or composites. These are very technique sensitive and can lead to dental sensitivity which generally disappears in time.
- Recession of the gums. This is probably the most common reason for dental sensitivity. The gums have receded and a portion of the root is exposed. The root of the tooth is porous and is more sensitive.
In a future article I will discuss how dental sensitivity is treated.