Tidbits Column, April 23, 2012

Ask the Dentist - Sensitive Teeth

by Dennis L. Burgner, D.D.S., General Dentist
Master, Academy of General Dentistry

Q: Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?
A: Exposed underlying tooth structures. When protective enamel is worn off, or gums have receded, tiny tubes on the tooth’s surface are exposed. Certain acidic foods and beverages, hot or cold drinks, touching your teeth, or breathing in cold air causes sudden movement of fluid within the microscopic tubes. This fluid movement irritates the nerve within the tooth and triggering pain.

Frequent use of acidic beverages and foods, including soft drinks and citrus juices, can cause erosion of the protective hard enamel, exposing sensitive surfaces. Exposure to strong stomach acid from eating disorders and medical conditions, such as Bulemia and Acid Reflux, respectively, can dissolve the enamel and create sensitivity.

Q: Can Tooth Sensitivity affect my lifestyle?
A: Yes! Pain from sensitive teeth can change your eating, drinking, and breathing habits. For example, that spoonful of ice cream, or swig of your favorite cold beverage can trigger sensitivity pain.

Q: How common is Tooth Sensitivity?
A. Very! Sensitivity is one of the most common dental complaints. 40 milllion adults in the United States suffer at some time from sensitive teeth.

Q: How can I avoid Tooth Sensivity?
A: Avoid certain toothpastes, especially highly abrasive toothpastes, “tartar control”, and “whitening” toothpastes.

A: Eliminate excessive biting pressures on your teeth. Bite problems, caused by shifted teeth, malocclusions, or a grinding / clenching habit can put traumatic pressures on one or more teeth. This causes inflammation of the nerve within the tooth, causing sensitivity pain. Excessive forces can lead to irreversible damage to the nerve tissues within the tooth, and require root canal treatment, or loss of the tooth.

You can Ask the Dentist by calling Dr. Burgner at 720-870-9500, or consult his website: www.ParkerLumineers.com

Dr Burgner has served on the Fellowship Examination Committee of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), and received national recognition awards from that 30,000 member organizaation. He has also been recognized in the local magazine 5280. He practices General Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Parker, Colorado.