Have you ever experienced a sudden sharp pain in your mouth when you eat or drink something cold, or does brushing and flossing leave you with a toothache? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.

The crowns of healthy teeth are protected by layers of enamel, while a layer called cementum protects the roots of your teeth just below the gum line. Underneath both of these substances is a substance called Dentin. Dentin is less dense than enamel, and it allows hot, cold and acidic substances to reach the nerves of your teeth when it loses its protective enamel layer. The loss of the enamel layer can be caused by a fractured tooth or tooth decay. Dentin can also be exposed by receding gums, a common symptom of gum disease. Cementum does provide protection to the roots of your teeth, but it isn’t as effective as enamel.

Fortunately, sensitive teeth can be treated through proper oral hygiene and by addressing the underlying cause of the sensitivity. Your dentist can answer any questions you have about tooth sensitivity, so don’t hesitate to ask.