Our teeth are meant to protect us and are always fighting off bacteria and food debris from clinging to our mouths and causing cavities. However, once that layer of enamel begins to degrade, dentin hypersensitivity appears and causes tingling, sharp pains, and extreme amounts of vulnerability to our oral health. This condition affects the dentin, the inside layer of the tooth that acts as the in-between layer for the pulp and enamel, and when it becomes extremely sensitive, dentin hypersensitivity can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. We’re here to explore all the ins and outs of dentin hypersensitivity, how it’s caused, and how this condition can be treated by your dentist.
How Dentin Hypersensitivity Affects Your Teeth
Dentin hypersensitivity occurs when the dentin layer of our teeth becomes exposed inside our mouths. Most often, this condition is preceded by enamel erosion, a condition where the enamel layer, known to be the hardest layer of our teeth, begins to erode over time. Enamel erosion acts as the underlying cause for dentin hypersensitivity, but more often than not, enamel erosion is typically caused by diseases and lifestyle habits that damage the enamel over time, including cavities, gum disease, and poor nutrition.
While the mentioned reasons are normally the typical cause for dentin hypersensitivity, there are plenty of undisclosed causes that occur that can cause this condition. Enamel erosion, in particular, can be caused by many lifestyle habits or incidents that affect us in various ways, including:
- Rough Toothbrushing: If you’ve been using an older toothbrush, a toothbrush with hard bristles, or have been brushing your teeth too hard, then these things can cause the enamel to erode and the underlying dentin to become exposed.
- Broken Fractured Teeth: If your teeth become fractured or chip off due to an accident, then the dentin underneath can become exposed and lead to a greater risk of infection.
- Grinding or Clenching Teeth: If you regularly clench your mouth or have a habit of grinding your teeth at night, then the enamel can easily erode away over time and disappear due to the constant pressure placed on the mouth.
- Using Abrading Agents: Charcoal toothpaste, baking soda toothpaste, and even teeth whitening agents containing hydrogen peroxide can easily cause the enamel to wear down over time and become more vulnerable to bacteria.
- Overusing Mouthwash: Mouthwashes are in a similar situation, where overusing mouthwash can cause the dentin to become exposed due to the high amounts of acidity.
Talk With Your Dentist For Hypersensitivity Treatment
Enamel cannot be regrown naturally once lost and will typically require restorative treatment to replace. In order to treat dentin hypersensitivity, there are many lifestyle changes that you can take to help reduce the amount of dental pain you experience, including changing your diet, brushing your teeth softer, using sensitive toothpaste, and other lifestyle habits. However, your dentist will most likely be able to offer you more advanced treatment options if you’re suffering from intense dentin hypersensitivity. For more information about how to receive treatment for dentin hypersensitivity, contacting your local dentist for an appointment can be your first step towards pain relief.