Unforeseen Triggers of Dental Sensitivity.

If you begin to experience sudden discomfort or sharp, stabbing pain in your teeth, it's important to investigate the cause.

Tooth sensitivity is defined by the American Academy of Endodontists (AAE) as a transient sensation resulting from the stimulation of exposed dentin by external factors such as heat or cold. Dentin, the layer beneath the enamel, acts as a buffer for the nerves within the teeth. Once dentin loses its protective covering, these nerves become vulnerable, leading to pain.

According to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), around 1 out of 8 individuals suffer from sensitive teeth. While tooth sensitivity can affect anyone, the JADA study indicates that women and young adults ranging in age from 18 to 44 years old with receding gums typically report more frequent sensations of tooth sensitivity.

The list of potential causes of sensitive teeth is extensive, with some conditions requiring the intervention of a dentist to identify. As clinical assistant professor Ana Paula Dias Ribeiro, DDS, PhD at the University of Florida's College of Dentistry in Gainesville suggests, many dental conditions involve the loss of protection for the dentin, which increases sensitivity. Dental practitioners will undertake an initial exam and request details pertaining to the pain's occurrence to determine the cause of tooth sensitivity. It is critical to know that the following factors can contribute to tooth sensitivity:

    - Diet: Foods that are acidic or tough can harm the teeth. Orange juice, citrus fruits, and sports drinks are culprits that could lead to tooth sensitivity according to Dr. Ribeiro.

    - Chewing ice: Habitually chomping on ice can wear down the enamel, leading to the teeth's sensitivity.

    - Harsh brushing: Brushing your teeth harshly or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause tooth sensitivity.

    - Tooth whitening: Tooth sensitivity can be a temporary side effect of utilizing whitening products excessively or using overly harsh chemicals.

    - Tooth decay: Tooth enamel loss due to the onset of cavities can expose dentin, which leads to tooth sensitivity. Placing a filling or crown can help alleviate the discomfort.

    - Gum-related problems: Abrasive toothbrushes, gum reduction surgery, and gum disease, among other issues, can contribute to gum-related tooth sensitivity.

    - Split tooth: Sensitivity when biting down can indicate a split tooth, which requires immediate attention.

    - Recent dental work: Following dental work, sensitivity may occur, but it should vanish within four weeks. If the discomfort persists, it is critical to consult with the dental practitioner.

    - Digestive disorders: The frequent vomiting associated with bulimia can lead to stomach acid wearing away at the tooth surface. Acid reflux could impact tooth sensitivity too.

    - Sinus infection: Teeth may hurt due to increased inflammation and pressure from sinus swelling.

    - Pregnancy: Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can lead to gum-related pain or discomfort, resulting in tooth sensitivity.

    - Cold weather: Cold air hitting the teeth can trigger sensitivity.

    - Stress: Grinding teeth due to stress and bruxism, a problem that could lead to tooth damage, could cause tooth sensitivity.

    As tooth sensitivity can be caused by a broad array of factors, working with a dental practitioner to diagnose tooth sensitivity is crucial. Treatment options can range from desensitizing toothpaste to fluoride treatment or other office procedures to address the root cause of tooth sensitivity.

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