Why does gum recession cause teeth to feel so sensitive?

Gum recession exposes the root of your tooth. Tooth roots have a different covering than the top part of your tooth. It's a little like the difference between touching a hot oven rack while wearing an oven mitt (the top part of your tooth) vs. with your bare hand (the root of your tooth). 

The thinner covering transmits temperatures more quickly. It can also be worn away, exposing the more sensitive dentin underneath. 

Your gums cover the lower portion of your teeth, which is where the roots reside. This part of a tooth doesn't have the hard enamel that the top portion has. Thus, when gums recede, heat and cold affect it much more than the well-protected upper portions. It's really no simpler than that. You can lessen gum recession by practicing good oral hygiene habits.

As the gum pulls away from a tooth, the roots of the tooth become exposed. As a result thousands of channels to the tooth's nerve center are exposed, so your response to hot and cold is heightened.

When gums recede, the root of the tooth becomes exposed. The root is not covered with enamel like the top part of the tooth. The enamel helps insulate the tooth from hot and cold. Without this insulation, the tooth is more sensitive to hot and cold. If you have sensitive teeth, you should see your dentist. As long as the teeth do not have cavities, sensitive teeth may be treated with fluorides and toothpastes for sensitive teeth.

Gum Recession can cause teeth to feel sensitive because it exposes the underlying root surface. The tooth root is not covered like the crown portion of your tooth. When it is exposed, there is nothing to protect it. It can also wear away easier since it is softer then the crown portion of your tooth, which can lead to more sensitivity. There are different methods to help reduce sensitivity. Identifying the cause of recession will help to prevent it from getting worse. There are different methods to help desensitize teeth. Talk to your dentist to see what is best in your situation. 


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.