Dental Sensitivity Explained By Our STL Dental Team

Written by Dr. Grayem on Sep 26, 2017

As the weather turns colder, our Saint Louis dentists often hear from patients that their teeth are feeling more sensitive. We know that dental sensitivity can really put a damper on your day to day life. Keep reading to get more information about the root causes of dental sensitivity, as well as some strategies for minimizing discomfort.

Dental sensitivity all comes down to the state of your dental enamel. Enamel, as the outermost covering of your teeth, is charged with protecting the more vulnerable, inner layer of the tooth from damage. Generally, enamel starts out quite strong, resilient, and thick. However, a number of substances and habits can weaken and thin enamel over time.

  • Acidic substances soften enamel and leave it susceptible to erosion
  • The pressure put on your enamel from bruxism—chronic dental grinding—will cause your enamel to thin over time. Bruxism can also create small cracks and chips in your teeth.
  • Dental caries serve as small conduits from the outer tooth to the sensitive inner dental layers
  • Accidents and dental traumas create severe cracks and chips

Basically, any time that there is a weak spot in your dental enamel, irritating agents, like foods and drinks, can bypass the enamel and infiltrate the sensitive dentin or dental pulp. Patients are especially prone to experiencing sensitivity when their teeth are exposed to quick changes in temperature. This is why drinking a hot/cold beverage, or stepping out into frigid weather, can trigger discomfort.

The best way to deal with sensitivity is to fortify your enamel, or to cover sensitivity enamel with a protective layer of resin or a restoration. Additionally, there are a number of toothpastes and mouth rinses on the market that help to desensitize dental nerves.

Our STL dentists are here to help you smile confidently and comfortably. So, if you notice tooth sensitivity in your own life, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team—we look forward to speaking with you!