Many people experience tooth sensitivity to temperature, to acidic food and drink and to sweets. Sensitivity can be generalized or limited to a specific tooth, it may be mild or painful, and it may be occasional or continual. The enamel on your teeth is a protective layer that helps to prevent sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can occur when this enamel thins or when gums recede past the layer of enamel allowing exposure of the dentin and root surface.
Thinning or wear of enamel can be caused by erosion due to acidity in the mouth or grinding and clenching. Recession of the gums may be due to trauma, gum disease, or brushing technique. Other reasons for tooth sensitivity include overuse of whitening products, cavities, worn fillings or fractured teeth. The first step to addressing sensitivity concerns is to consult your dentist, the dentist will try to establish the causes of the sensitivity and then prescribe a course of treatment. Treatment may involve fillings, construction of a nightguard, modifying your diet or a change in home care techniques and products.