If you find yourself avoiding really cold or hot beverages because of discomfort in your teeth or jaw, then you may have sensitive teeth. Sometimes even just breathing in cold winter air can cause sharp pain.
Sudden sensitivity to extreme temperatures may be a symptom of dental problems like cavities or infections. However, if it’s a chronic issue, then you might be experiencing “dentin hypersensitivity” (sensitive teeth). It’s important to make sure you have a dental professional look into the reasons behind the sensitivity of your teeth.
On this page
- What is dentin hypersensitivity?
- What causes it?
- How can I relieve tooth sensitivity?
What is dentin hypersensitivity?
Dentin makes up most of a tooth. It’s a material that contains a lot of nerve endings and is protected by a hard layer of enamel. When dentin loses its protective enamel, nerve irritation can occur. With nerve irritation, you might experience sharp, shooting pain.
What causes it?
Possible causes include:
- Consuming lots of acidic foods or beverages, which can erode the protective enamel
- Aggressive brushing or using hard-bristled brushes
- Tooth decay
- Broken teeth or injuries
- Gum recession
- Grinding your teeth, also called “bruxism”
- Post-dental treatment (usually temporary).
How can I relieve tooth sensitivity?
The first and most important step is talking to your dentist. If you want to make an appointment at your nearest Bupa-owned Members First Network dental clinic, head here. A dentist will be able to help you determine the cause of the sensitivity and develop a treatment plan. The solution could be as simple as fixing a cavity.
Your dentist can also help you alleviate symptoms by applying fluoride in order to strengthen enamel, or recommending products such as over-the-counter desensitising toothpastes.