Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

Do your teeth hurt when you drink cold water? Are hard foods creating discomfort in your teeth and jaw? There are many causes of sensitive teeth, from tooth damage to decay. As your dentist in Annapolis, MD, we’re here to help you understand the possible causes of tooth sensitivity and discover the solutions for your smile.

Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

Causes and Treatments for Sensitive Teeth: Dentist in Annapolis, MD

The most common reasons why you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity can include: 

Teeth Grinding

Also known as bruxism, teeth clenching and grinding often occur unconsciously. If you’re under stress, you can clench or grind your teeth during sleep or in a stressful situation. Teeth grinding is also a symptom of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), when pressure or injury to the joints that connect the skull and jaw bone creates dysfunction and discomfort. Over time, teeth grinding can wear down your enamel, leading to sensitivity and pain. 

Patients with bruxism benefit from wearing a nightguard, a mouthguard covering the upper or lower teeth. Nightguards are typically made of hard plastic and keep the teeth from grinding together. Wearing a nightguard also prevents jaw pain, headaches, and other discomfort in the head and face. 

Worn Teeth

Over time, tooth wear will remove the tooth enamel or the outer layer of the tooth. If you experience tooth wear, you may notice your tooth or teeth discolor. This is due to dentin, the dark underlayer beneath the enamel. Depending on where you experience tooth wear, you can benefit from veneers, crowns, or dental bonding treatment. Dental veneers cover teeth in the smile line, while bonding adds structure to teeth and crowns fully cover teeth. 

Cracked Tooth

If you have just cracked or fractured a tooth, you likely experience sensitivity because your tooth damage exposed the inside of your tooth. The dentin is more sensitive than the tooth enamel, and sugary, cold, or acidic foods and drinks can trigger sensitivity in cracked teeth. Many patients with cracked teeth benefit from crowns. Crowns can hold cracked teeth together and cover teeth fully. However, if teeth are severely cracked, we may remove them and recommend implants for replacement. 

Tooth Decay

Harmful, decay-causing bacteria can enter a tooth due to damage like a chip, crack, or fracture in a tooth. However, tooth decay can also affect initially intact, healthy teeth. We may recommend a root canal if a tooth infection reaches the inside of the tooth, affecting the dental pulp. A root canal removes infected pulp to preserve the tooth structure, even as the vessels and cells within the tooth are removed. If you have severe decay and your tooth is too worn for a filling, we may need to remove the tooth. We can also replace the tooth with a dental implant to ensure you do not have to live with a gap in your smile.

Do you have sensitive teeth? Call Dr. Vernon Sheen today at (443) 482-5202. You may also request a dental appointment with Dr. Sheen online.