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Do you feel a sharp pain in one or more teeth when you bite into something cold or hot? Barring an actual cavity, if sipping a hot cocoa or eating ice cream has become an uncomfortable experience, you may have tooth sensitivity.

There are various causes for the condition of sensitive teeth ranging from tooth enamel loss, exposed roots from receding gum lines, or even an undiscovered cracked or fractured tooth.

Normally, your teeth have a sufficient covering of enamel shielding the crown. This is the area on the tooth that is visible above the gum line. Below the gum line, the enamel stops and a substance named cementum shields the root. Not quite as tough as enamel, cementum can be breached, or enamel worn down enough that the inner dentin is exposed. Dentin has tiny canals that lead to the tooth’s nerve system and this could be causing the pain. If this is the case, you’ll want to make an appointment with your dentist to discuss ways of treating gum disease.

Don’t despair if you are having these issues. We have ways to treat teeth that have become sensitive. Of course, it requires that we pinpoint the cause. Once discovered, we may recommend one of the following courses of action:

-Root canal: If severe enough that the pain cannot be addressed any other way.
-Gum graft: Replacing tissue that has been lost and covers an exposed root.
-Gel fluoride: To strengthen tooth enamel.
-Special toothpaste: To block transmission and desensitize tooth nerves.
-A crown, inlay or bonding: To remove decay and/or correct a flaw

If you’d like more information about treating sensitive teeth, call Dr. Michael Shirer and our team at Shirer Family Dentistry. Make an appointment at: 803-648-6400, or come by our office in Aiken, South Carolina.