One Kings Road | Madison, NJ 07940
Tooth Sensitivity & Root Exposure
If you have ever experienced a sudden, sharp, quick pain or a mild tingling sensation while drinking a cold beverage, eating ice cream or while brushing your teeth, chances are high that you are suffering from dentinal sensitivity. These sensations may come and go and they only last a few seconds. They might even change locations throughout your mouth.
Where are these sensations coming from?
There are two main components that make up the tooth: the crown and the root. Each of these structures consists of layers of tissue.
The crown of the tooth is located above the gum line and consists of three layers of material. The outer, hardest layer is enamel, the middle layer is dentin (much softer than enamel), and the inner layer is the pulp which consists of nerves and blood vessels (the softest part).
The root of the tooth is located in the tooth socket. It is surrounded by the bones of the jaw and covered by gum tissue. There are three layers that make up the root structure: the outer layer is a very thin layer called cementum, the middle layer is dentin and the inner layer is the pulp.
The dentin layer of the tooth consists of thousands of tiny fluid filled tubules that extend from the outside to the center of the tooth. The dentinal tubules are normally covered by a protective mineral smear that seals the tubule off from the surrounding environment. When the dentinal tubules lose their protective smear they are considered “open.” If you have an open dentinal tubule and you have a cold drink, the fluid within the tubule will sense the drastic temperature change and send a message to the pulp. When the message reaches the pulp you may feel a brief, zing-like pain. The open tubule can also be sensitive to pressure during tooth brushing. Additionally, the exposed dentin is more susceptible to decay than harder enamel.
The most important thing in treating sensitivity is to determine its cause. The two main causes of dentinal sensitivity are:
Abrasion commonly is a result of scrubbing too hard with your toothbrush. Follow the directions below to brush properly:
Erosion of enamel happens when chemicals or acids are repeatedly exposed to the dentinal surface. This can happen with:
Solving the sensitivity
After eliminating the cause, the goal is to seal off the open tubules and provide protection against decay.
Minor sensitivity and minimal recession
Significant sensitivity or erosion
Contact our Patient Care Coordinator in Madison, NJ, if you have any questions about your dental health.