February 21, 2019 

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

When clients come to see us for teeth straightening, they often have concerns about sensitive teeth.

Maybe they currently have sensitivity to heat and cold, or maybe they’ve heard braces can cause it.

Addressing these concerns is part of how we serve are patients, and we’d love to share the same information with you. Here’s what you need to know about what causes sensitive teeth and what to do about it.


Are Your Teeth Sensitive?

If you have discomfort when you eat or drink very cold items, you probably know that your teeth are sensitive. The same applies if you have pain when consuming hot food or drink, or if you struggle with acidic foods or beverages.

While temperature is a common concern, people often don’t think about carbonated beverages, lemons, oranges, and grapefruit affecting their teeth. The truth is these acids can cause damage to your teeth and can also trigger pain or discomfort.

Your teeth may also have pain or tenderness due to teeth straightening, but that is due to the shifting of the teeth, not the tooth surface itself.


Why Teeth Become Tender

Why do your teeth hurt due to temperature or acid? Often, it’s because the enamel has worn down and the dentin is exposed. Or, there may be problems below your gums that expose dentin. Dentin has nerve endings, making it very susceptible to cold, heat, acid, and more.

You can lose enamel if your jar your teeth, have a mouth injury, or develop cavities. You can also wear enamel off by eating a lot of acidic food over time.

Because enamel is extremely hard but somewhat brittle, it’s likely that an injury, cavity, or gum problem is the primary cause of tooth sensitivity. Enamel doesn’t extend below the gums, so gum disease can cause a breakdown in the surface of the tooth that exposes the dentin.

Sometimes people brush their teeth too hard near the gumline. This causes damage to the gum and the edge of the enamel, which can expose nerves and cause pain.

Finally, an adjustment to your braces for teeth straightening can cause temporary sensitivity.


Treating and Preventing Tooth Sensitivity

The first thing to do if you struggle with tooth pain – from teeth alignment or from sensitivity – is let your dentist or orthodontist know right away. We can look over your teeth and gums and determine what is causing the problem.

If it’s an injury or cavity, we can take action to fix the problem. If it’s because of gum disease, we can help you reverse some of the damage. Sensitivity due to an adjustment for teeth straightening should fade after a day or two.

To prevent the problem, never shy away from dental or orthodontic treatment. You need to have proper cleaning and care of your teeth to keep your enamel strong and your nerves protected.


Teeth Straightening Options For You

If you’re concerned about teeth straightening causing problems with your teeth, you can rest easy. A highly trained professional knows how to install and remove braces safely without damaging your teeth.

In addition, there are a lot of straightening options that don’t include having braces attached to your teeth. You might be able to have Invisalign, for instance, which doesn’t impact the surface of your teeth at all.

Interested in learning more? Contact us for a consultation today!

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2924 Kavanaugh Blvd
Little Rock, Arkansas