Tooth sensitivity results from erosion of tooth enamel. This exposes the middle layer of teeth called dentin. Nerve branches exist in dentin that arises from the tooth’s nerve centre. Exposure of these nerves to extremes of hot or cold temperature is the real cause of sensitivity. Pain results as soon as this happens. Sensitivity of pulp is also a cause of teeth sensitivity but it is by and large localised to one tooth.
Following are the signs of sensitive teeth:
If you get a sudden, sharp sensation of pain after having something cold such as ice tea, lemonade or ice cream; it could be due to sensitive teeth. This is the most commonly experienced symptom of sensitive teeth. Important feature of the sharp pain that arises due to sensitivity is its variability based on presence of sugar. Sugary drinks such as cola or iced tea with sugar causes more pain in your sensitive teeth. You can actually experiment with drinks with and without sugar to determine whether the pain is due to sensitivity or other reasons.
Sudden sharp pain as soon as you take hot beverages or even hot water may well be due to sensitive teeth. This is not as common an occurrence with sensitive teeth but can happen. At times, it is not the heat of the liquid you are taking which causes the pain but the presence of sugar in your hot beverages such as cocoa, coffee, tea and others. You can experiment with sugary and non-sugary drinks to know the real cause of sensitivity, sugar or heat of the drink. If it is due to heat, there may be dying nerves in one of your tooth.
[Read: Why is Tooth Sensitive to Heat?]
If you experience sharp pain when biting into sweets such as cookies, candies, chocolates, pies, rasagulla or any other, it can be due to teeth sensitivity. If you allow a mint to brush against a tooth resulting in pain, it can be due to sensitivity.
If you feel pain when you touch your teeth, using your toothbrush, finger or even with tongue, it does suggest teeth sensitivity. You need to be very gentle when brushing sensitive teeth. A dental exam including x-rays may be needed at this stage. The dentist would identify the sensitivity as one of pulpal sensitivity or dentinal sensitivity.
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