Do I Have Sensitive Gums or Sensitive Teeth?

Do I Have Sensitive Gums or Sensitive Teeth?
Author: ngoulds Posted: January 10th, 2022 Category:

You’re experiencing weird sensations in your mouth, but are your teeth at fault, or is it your gums? Learn the differences between gum and tooth sensitivity to identify the best remedy.

Our mouths are pretty essential to our daily lives. That’s why it’s so frustrating when we start experiencing sensitivity and pain there. Worse, once that sensitivity starts, it can be hard to figure out what’s behind it. Is it your gums or your teeth? It can be challenging to determine the right course of action to start feeling better if you don’t know. 

Fortunately, it’s possible to distinguish between the two forms of sensitivity. Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of each to figure out if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, gum sensitivity, or both. 

What is Tooth Sensitivity, and How Do I Identify It? 

Tooth sensitivity is a common occurrence with several noticeable symptoms. You likely have tooth sensitivity if you find yourself wincing when eating or drinking something cold, hot, acidic, or even sweet. Discomfort when brushing your teeth or flossing is another common symptom. 

Tooth sensitivity can arise from several different causes. Cavities and tooth fractures, receding gums, loose fillings, gum disease, grinding your teeth, and brushing your teeth too hard can all lead to tooth sensitivity. These events can wear away or damage the protective layers of your teeth (either enamel above the roots or cementum below the roots). When that happens, the inner layer of your teeth, called dentin, becomes exposed. That dentin exposure triggers tooth sensitivity. 

What is Gum Sensitivity, and How Do I Identify It?

Unlike tooth sensitivity, gum sensitivity is a form of irritation — in this case, one that originates in your gums. People often mistake gum sensitivity for tooth sensitivity despite the two being different. However, if you take the time to focus on where you’re experiencing your pain, you’ll notice that the location of your pain is in your gums and that it doesn’t reach your teeth themselves. 

The most common symptoms of gum sensitivity to watch out for are pain when brushing or flossing your teeth accompanied by swollen and tender gums, gums that easily bleed, or bad breath. Unlike tooth sensitivity, gum sensitivity is typically caused by inadequate oral hygiene that leads to gum disease — and plaque build-up is the main culprit. As plaque accumulates along your gum line, it hardens and turns into tartar. That tartar will then progress into advanced gum disease if left untreated. Beyond gum disease, other common causes of gum sensitivity include vitamin C deficiency, oral infection, smoking, hormonal changes, and diabetes. 

Prevention and Treatment Tips for Tooth and Gum Sensitivity 

Fortunately, both tooth and gum sensitivity are treatable and preventable. In either case, the key lies in an excellent oral care routine. 

Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day (but not too hard!), ideally using a toothpaste that fights plaque and gingivitis. If you’re already experiencing tooth sensitivity, you can try using toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth. It’s also important to floss once a day to get the hard-to-reach bacteria that turn into plaque. 

If these simple home remedies don’t eliminate your sensitivity, it’s essential to talk to your dentist. They may recommend applying a fluoride varnish desensitizing serum during your dental visit to reduce your tooth sensitivity. They can also give you a prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste if necessary. For even more severe gum and tooth sensitivity cases, your dentist may recommend gum grafting, bonding, or even a root canal. 

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Colorado Springs location today! Our highly trained dentists can determine whether you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity or gum sensitivity and work with you to create a treatment plan that helps reduce your pain. Don’t live near our Colorado Springs, CO office? Find one of our other locations near you!

Colorado Springs
8610 Explorer Dr #315
Colorado Springs, CO 80920