Causes Of Tooth Sensitivity

Toothache or pain in tooth starts when our teeth get exposed to heat, cold, sweet or very acidic food or breathing in cold air. So, it’s common to develop this pain while sipping tea or cold drink, eating dinner or walking outside in chilled air.

Teeth are a lot of fun to learn about and understand their anatomy.

Tooth has two parts that are crown and root. Crown is visible in the mouth, situated above the gum line and roots are embedded in gums.

Teeth are surrounded by four layers.

Enamel is the hardest outer layer of the crown which protects teeth from bacterial attack, external forces, infection& wear & tear.

Dentinis the layer lying directly beneath enamel & forms bulk of the tooth. It becomes sensitive if the enamel is lost.

The pulp is a soft living tissue present at the core of teeth which contains nerves and blood supply of the tooth.

Cementum outlines roots under gums.

Why do we develop tooth sensitivity?


When this enamel (covering crown)or cementum (covering root) layer wears off and dentin gets exposed due to cavities, the recession of gums, tooth erosion or periodontal disease, then dentin allows bacteria or infection to enter pulp and patient develops pain or sensitivity.

Tooth Sensitivity

Causes of tooth sensitivity:

Overzealous brushing: when we brush our teeth with hard bristle toothbrush applying too much force/ pressure on teeth then enamel wears off and dentin gets exposed and the exposed area responds to heat, cold, sweet& spicy food and triggers pain.

Tooth grinding or clenching / Erosion: Sometimes we grind our teeth against each other and that lead to dentin exposure and we develop sensitivity.

Gum disease / Gingivitis: inflammation of gums  (swollen and bleeding gums) also lead to wear off cementum & exposure of dentin and development of sensitivity.

Periodontal disease: “Peri ” means around and “odontal ” refers to teeth. So, it is an infection which develops or seen in the structure surrounding teeth that’s mean gums, periodontal ligament, Cementum ( a layer which covers the tooth roots inside gums)  & alveolar bone ( bony socket in which tooth resides).

It leads to recession of gums (exposure of roots to infection due to loss of gum tissue) and ultimately exposure of Cementum & Dentin.

Caries (Cavities): Bacteria from plaque enter through this cracked surface of teeth and cause inflammation of the pulp of the tooth. This will lead to the development of sensitivity in the tooth.

Temporary sensitivity: Our teeth may become sensitive after some dental procedures like scaling, root planning, crown replacement, teeth whitening and even after fillings. But this sensitivity is temporarily in nature and it goes away in four to six weeks.

 Reported by Dr. Himani


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