Help! My Teeth Hurt! 5 Reasons Why They’re Sensitive

Woodhill Dental Specialties08/26/22

We’ve all heard of getting “ice cream headaches” when we eat it too fast. But do you ever get “ice cream toothaches?” Do your teeth hurt if your coffee or tea is too hot? Have you ever felt a weird feeling in your teeth when eating something bitter? If so, you may have sensitive teeth. It may be something you’ve had for a while, or you may have sudden teeth sensitivity. What causes tooth sensitivity, and what can you do to prevent or stop it? 

Woodhill Dental Specialties can help diagnose your tooth sensitivity and help you figure out why your teeth might be suddenly sensitive. It could be anything from the toothpaste you’re using to new medication you might be taking. If you’re in the Dallas or Rockwall, TX, areas, Woodhill Dental Specialties can help you with your tooth sensitivity!

What Is Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is when your teeth react to extreme heat or cold, usually with pain. They can also react to extreme sweetness or bitterness, such as cake frosting or lemons. You may feel a slight twinge in your teeth or significant pain that can dissipate quickly or last for several hours. 

Tooth sensitivity is caused by a thinning of the enamel, the hard outer shell of the tooth that protects the living parts of the tooth inside — the dentin and the pulp. Thinning enamel can be caused by tooth erosion or by tooth decay. Both must be addressed as soon as possible because if the dentin or pulp is exposed, it could lead to infection and tooth loss. 

Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?

There may be one or several reasons why your teeth are suddenly sensitive. Here are five possibilities. 

  • You’re not brushing and flossing regularly. Without proper brushing and flossing, bacteria and plaque build-up on the tooth and weaken the enamel. This tooth decay can lead to cavities, gum disease, and tooth sensitivity. 
  • You’re not using the right toothpaste. It’s best to use fluoride toothpaste because the fluoride strengthens your enamel and helps reduce sensitivity. You can also use toothpaste that’s made to reduce tooth sensitivity. On the other hand, whitening toothpastes may be harsh on your enamel as it tries to penetrate and remove stains, making sensitivity worse. Bottom line, choose your toothpaste wisely. 
  • You’re brushing too hard. It’s OK to scrub your teeth lightly, but scrubbing too hard can wear down your enamel and damage your gums. You want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and scrub lightly when you brush. Better still, use an electric toothbrush and let it do the scrubbing for you. 
  • You’re on certain medications. Certain medications can reduce some of the minerals in your body, including those that strengthen your enamel. As a result, you may experience tooth sensitivity. If it gets too bad, you might speak with your doctor about the sudden tooth sensitivity side effect and see whether you might have other options. 
  • You may be genetically prone to sensitive teeth. Some patients with certain genetic conditions may have teeth that don’t develop properly or have thinner enamel than usual. That makes them prone to more sensitive teeth. 

How Do I Prevent Sudden Sensitive Teeth?

Whether it’s your front tooth that’s sensitive, bottom teeth sensitivity, or random tooth sensitivity, there are ways to help with tooth sensitivity and ways to prevent it. One option is to use a dental sealant. Our dental sealants are safe for kids and adults and can protect your enamel and reduce tooth erosion. The sealant soaks into all of the micro-crevices or each tooth to protect the tooth from bacteria penetrating the enamel. Fluoride treatments also can help strengthen the enamel. 

Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is the best way to prevent tooth sensitivity. You should brush at least two minutes a day, twice a day, every day. It’s better to brush after every meal, but we know it may be difficult during the day if you are at work or school. If you can, though, do it! 

Fluoride causes a chemical reaction with your saliva, allowing it to soak into the enamel and strengthen it. You should avoid food or drink for up to half an hour after you brush to allow the fluoride time to work at full strength. That will help your enamel. You can also rinse with a fluoride mouthwash 1-2 hours AFTER you brush your teeth, then wait half an hour for that to work before eating or drinking. This will give you more fluoride protection and help keep sudden tooth sensitivity at bay. 

One more thing — come see us! You need to visit your dentist at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and examination. We will be able to spot any weak areas in your enamel and let you know what you can do about them. We also will give your teeth a thorough cleaning, including removing that hard tartar buildup that can trap bacteria against your teeth and gums. If necessary, we can provide a sealant or fluoride treatment to protect your teeth from tooth sensitivity.  

You don’t have to live with tooth sensitivity. Woodhill Dental Specialties has options to help you when your teeth are hurting. Don’t live with the ouch! Let us help you smile again!

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