Sensitive Teeth

Damaged Enamel Causes Indecent Exposure

Incredibly hard enamel protects your teeth above the gum line so that you can bite and chew without pain or discomfort. Beneath the enamel, a more porous layer, dentin, extends to below the gum line. A hollow chamber inside the tooth houses the pulp, containing vital nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. It is the source of nourishment for the tooth.

Damage, such as receding gums or chips and cracks in enamel, or heavy-handed brushing, exposes the dentin and can create a condition known as dentin hypersensitivity. Through tiny pores in the dentin, called tubules, temperature fluctuations, air, and pressure can directly affect nerves. This type of sensitivity can cause sudden, acute, and unexpected oral pain. About 45 million Americans suffer from tooth sensitivity, and if you’re one of them, we can help.

Treatment of dentinal hypersensitivity can include dental sealants or bonding agents, which create a barrier similar to natural enamel. We may suggest a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your teeth from further irritation, an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensitive automatic shut off, or special toothpaste formulated to block or insulate nerves. A fluoride varnish may be applied to teeth in the office to reduce your tooth sensitivity. Some patients use a daily, at-home prescription fluoride applications.