Tooth Sensitivity and Exposed Tooth Roots
Tooth sensitivity can occur for any number of reasons, including enamel erosion, bruxism, and exposed tooth roots. In this blog post, Dr. Sol Weiss and the team at The Art of Dentistry discuss how exposed tooth roots can cause tooth sensitivity, as well as the causes and dangers of exposed tooth roots. If you have exposed tooth roots, we can recommend the appropriate restorative dentistry treatment plan to protect your dental health. To learn more about tooth sensitivity and exposed tooth roots, read on, and then contact our Toronto, ON practice today.
Why Do Exposed Roots Result in Tooth Sensitivity?
The crown of a tooth is protected by enamel, the clear, outer layer that protects it from sensitivity to temperature changes and pressure. The root surface of a tooth does not have enamel. Instead, the root surface is protected by gum tissue. If the gums recede, exposing the sensitive roots, patients may experience discomfort when the tooth roots come into contact with hot and cold foods or pressure from dental tools.
Causes of Exposed Roots
The gums may recede and expose your tooth roots for a number of reasons, including:
- Gum disease: Gum disease is a bacterial infection that slowly damages gum tissue, causing it to recede and loosen its hold on the teeth.
- Bruxism: The force that is applied to the teeth when clenching or grinding can wear down the gum line.
- Aggressive brushing: Apply light pressure when brushing the teeth. Too much pressure can slowly erode the gum line.
- Malocclusion: Malocculsion can result in excess pressure in certain areas of the mouth, causing gum wear.
Dangers of Exposed Roots
Exposed tooth roots do not just cause tooth sensitivity; they can increase the risk of other dental problems as well. Because the roots don’t have the protective enamel layer, they are more vulnerable to tooth decay. This makes it easier for bacterial acids to wear away at the dentin layer of the tooth, potentially causing root cavities or a root canal infection.
Treatment for Exposed Roots
During your dental exam and cleaning, we will ask if you have been experiencing any dental discomfort and check the gum line to look for problems such as gum recession and exposed roots. If you have an exposed tooth root, we may monitor the tooth and advise you on how to avoid further gum recession. If the exposed root causes significant sensitivity, we may recommend the following treatments:
- Composites: Composite resin, the same tooth-coloured material that is used in dental fillings, can be used to cover your tooth roots and protect the tooth. The composite material is applied to the tooth, shaped, and then hardened, all in less than an hour.
- Gum grafts: If you have severely exposed roots, we may refer you to a periodontist to undergo a gum grafting procedure.
If you experience tooth sensitivity due to an exposed tooth root, please let us know during your next dental visit. When cleaning any affected teeth, we will use gentle techniques so you don’t experience discomfort during your exam. Contact The Art of Dentistry to schedule an appointment.
Related article: Causes of Tooth Pain