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Why Exposed Tooth Roots Can Lead to Sensitive Teeth

By William Stofer on August 23, 2016


A tooth from root to crownWhen it comes to having healthy smiles that look great, the people of Warsaw know that they can trust in us. We offer comprehensive general dentistry services, with customized treatments designed to address tooth decay, gum disease, and a host of other problems as they arise.

Many people suffer from tooth sensitivity that is the result of exposed tooth roots. This is linked to a problem known as gum recession. Let's explore these topics in greater detail.

Understanding the Basic Anatomy of Your Smile

To explain the link between tooth sensitivity and exposed tooth roots, it's helpful to consider some of the basics when it comes to the anatomy of your smile.

The exposed portion of your tooth is known as the crown. The crown is strong and used for biting and chewing. The gumline is the gum tissue that covers up the rest of the tooth structure than extends down into the jawbone. The portion of the tooth that is concealed by the gum tissue is known as the tooth root. The tooth root is not as sturdy as the crown, and it's closer to the internal soft tissue and nerves of a tooth.

What Is Gum Recession?

Gum recession refers to the loss of gum tissue along the natural position of the gumline. This exposes more of the tooth root to food, beverages, the air, and other substances. Gum recession makes tooth sensitivity more likely, and it can also result in tooth decay occurring in the lower portion of the tooth.

Common Causes of Gum Recession

Some of the most common causes of gum recession include:

  • Gum disease (particularly periodontitis and advanced periodontitis)
  • Trauma and injury to the mouth
  • Smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Aggressive brushing and flossing
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Tongue and lip piercings

What Can Trigger Tooth Sensitivity?

When it comes to exposed tooth roots, tooth sensitivity and toothaches are most commonly triggered by hot and cold food/beverages. You may notice major pain when having ice cream or soup, for instance. This can be quite painful. Sometimes the temperature of the air can lead to a sudden attack of tooth sensitivity.

Treatments for Gum Recession

If you have suffered from gum recession, the most common treatment option to consider is soft tissue augmentation. This process involves the use of donor gum tissue or artificial gum grafts to rebuild missing portions of the gumline. This helps alleviate tooth sensitivity while also improving overall appearance of a person's smile.

How to Prevent Gum Recession and Tooth Root Exposure

To prevent gum recession, consider the following simple tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Floss you teeth at least once a night (ideally after every meal)
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco products
  • Avoid getting oral piercings
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups

Learn More About Treating Dental Pain and Tooth Sensitivity

If you would like more information about treating tooth sensitivity and other kinds of dental health problems, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Our team will work with you to ensure your smile is healthy as well as beautiful.

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