There are a number of reasons why you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can be affected by age, and not necessarily old age either. Tooth sensitivity is highest between ages 25 to 30, so if you’ve been taking good care of your teeth, they show no signs of decay and you’ve been seeing your dentist regularly, you probably don’t have too much to worry about. However, a suddenly sensitive tooth can be a symptom of another problem.

Your teeth are covered by a layer of hard enamel that is tightly sealed by healthy gum tissue. The inside layer of the teeth is made of a softer layer with numerous microscopic nerve endings. If these nerve endings are exposed, or if the tooth becomes irritated, you get tooth sensitivity. Many people just deal with sensitive teeth by ignoring the problem and not doing anything about it. We have all heard of people saying that their teeth hurt under certain circumstances and they simply avoid consuming those items that cause the discomfort. However, this does not allow outstanding problems to be addressed and usually leads to more complicated and uncomfortable situations.

The pain could be caused by an exposure of the nerves deep inside the tooth due to cavities or the exposure of the nerve endings on the outer surface of the tooth from gum problems. Or you may be developing tooth decay near the gum line. Since you see no decay on top of the tooth, you might not be aware a cavity exists, but it can create tiny holes near the gum in front or in the back of the tooth.

You could also be developing gingivitis. Inflamed or sore gums may cause sensitivity due to the loss of supporting ligaments, which exposes the root surface leading directly to the tooth. If you have advanced gingivitis, (periodontal disease), the gums are moving away from the tooth, exposing the roots.

Teeth grinding can also cause sudden sensitivity. Habitual grinding or clenching your teeth wears down the enamel, exposing the underlying dentin.

Other reasons you might be experiencing sensitivity include a cracked or broken tooth, which may fill up with plaque, causing inflammation, a loose filling or an improperly fitting crown. Let your dentist know right away if a filling or crown is causing you pain, as a replacement should be prompt to prevent long lasting damage.

Highly acidic foods can also give you tooth sensitivity. If you eat a lot of citrus fruits, tomatoes and other foods with high acid content, they could be wearing away at the enamel of your teeth, causing sensitivity to the dentin.

If you’re experiencing sudden tooth sensitivity, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment.