Even though our teeth feel like they are inert pieces of rock cut to bite and chew, inside each of them are quite a few nerves, and they don’t hold back in letting us know when they are being activated. Toothache can take over your whole head, but there are other forms of transient pain that, in the moment, will get all your attention.
You might get a sudden pain when you bite into something cold like an ice cream, or sip an extra hot cup of tea.
Here at Crofts Dental Practice in Essex, we refer to these pains as having sensitive teeth. There can be several causes of sensitive teeth and it’s important to find out which one is behind your transient pains so that something can be done about them.
Loss of tooth enamel
When your tooth enamel is being eroded, the nerves beneath it in the layer of softer dentin and in the soft pulp are that much nearer the surface of your tooth, and therefore more likely to be affected by extremes in temperature from sudden cold and hot substances.
Enamel can be eroded by a high sugar diet feeding plaque that gives off acids that cause erosion. It can also be eroded by brushing with too hard a brush, and also by some eating disorders.
When your gums start to recede, as can happen as we age or through gum disease, the tooth root under the gum can become exposed. The root has no protective enamel on it and is therefore much more sensitive.
You may have cracked a tooth or damaged the enamel in some other way, exposing a nerve.
Whitening the teeth can open the pores in your tooth enamel and this can lead to sensitivity. There are toothpastes to remineralise the enamel and make it less prone to sensation.
Whether yours is a fleeting pain or one that can go on for hours, it’s important to get it checked out. It may be symptomatic of something more serious that we can catch early and treat easily.