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What Causes Dental Sensitivity? June 27, 2018

Brookline, Norfolk
What Causes Dental Sensitivity?, Brookline, Massachusetts

We all know the feeling, that intense pang associated with exposure to hot or cold or sweet or sour. But why does dental sensitivity happen? Our teeth are made up of a sensitive inner-material, called dentin, which is full of microscopic nerve endings. These nerve endings are protected by a tough outer layer, known as enamel. Over time, tooth enamel can wear away, exposing the inner dentin and resulting in sensitivity. Once enamel has worn away, tooth repair procedures such as fillings or dental crowns are necessary to ensure optimum oral health. But what causes the enamel to wear away in the first place?

Why Your Teeth Are So Sensitive

1. Food

tooth repairFood is the leading cause of lost enamel and tooth sensitivity. Consuming highly acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, coffee, pickled foods, red wine, and soft drinks can all cause the enamel to wear away over time. Foods that are high in sugar, such as candy and ice cream, also contribute to sensitivity. 

2. Poor Habits

Although foods can slowly wear away at your enamel, there are a number of habits which can also destroy this protective layer. These habits include abrasive tooth brushing, chewing on ice or hard candies, smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and grinding your teeth. Poor oral habits expose the inner layer of dentin quicker and usually require a more aggressive form of tooth repair and intervention.

3. Oral Procedures

In some cases, sensitivity may not be due to lost enamel. Rather, the discomfort may simply come from dental procedures. Teeth whitening, for example, is known to cause sensitivity, although it rarely lasts more than a few days. Additionally, a number of patients experience some sensitivity following tooth repair procedures, such as getting a filling or crown, or even after having their teeth cleaned. However, like teeth whitening, this source of sensitivity usually tends to dissipate quickly.

If you’re experiencing with tooth sensitivity, the team at Smileboston Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry is here to help. Our practice has been serving the Boston community for over 20 years, with two locations in Brookline, MA and on Boston’s South Shore. Smileboston specializes in a number of cosmetic and restorative dentistry procedures, including tooth repair, laser dentistry, and smile makeovers. To learn more about us, visit Smileboston online. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at (781) 826-7577 for our South Shore office, or (617) 277-4100 for our Brookline location.