Dr. Nunn's Dental Blog

The Surprising Cause of Dental Sensitivity

The Surprising Cause of Dental Sensitivity

by Dr. Nunn

Jaw Pain It is relatively easy for a dentist to diagnose dental sensitivity that is caused by a cavity, an old filling, or receding gums. But what if all of those factors have been eliminated and the sensitivity still persists? What if you feel discomfort sometimes, but not all of the time? It could be time to talk to a Springfield MO dentist about bruxism.

Bruxism is the habit of clenching or grinding the teeth in a forceful manner. The habit can take place during the day, perhaps in moments of extreme concentration or stress, but it is more commonly exhibited at night as you sleep. In fact, a large percentage of adults clench or grind their teeth at night, but few are aware of it—until the teeth become mysteriously sensitive.

There are two reasons that bruxism can cause dental sensitivity:

  1. It strains the dental ligament. The tiny ligaments that support each tooth can become inflamed in response to heavy clenching or grinding—especially when one tooth is absorbing the brunt of the force.
  2. It traumatizes the dental nerve. The nerve tissue inside of the tooth can become traumatized by the force of one tooth banging into another.

There is one reason that bruxism can cause occasional or spontaneous discomfort.

  1. You might not be bruxing every day. Some of us will clench or grind our teeth every single day or night. But most of us find that the habit happens in cycles. Maybe we clench when we are particularly stressed, or sick, or tense. Maybe we’ve experienced an intense dream or feel anxious about something. It is normal to experience a brief bout of sensitivity after this type of sporadic bruxing.

To control your bruxing habit and eliminate your dental sensitivity, find a Springfield dentist who can order a custom night guard for you. These simple appliances can provide the proper protection for your teeth and gums by serving as a shock absorber for your clenching or grinding habit. Want to learn more? Call to schedule an appointment today.