Why are teeth sensitive to pain?

The teeth are very important structures for chewing and speech. When worn they can be sensitive to pain and strongly bother.

The dental structures are very important for speech, chewing food and the formation of the food bolus. They are also aesthetically pleasing. The teeth, in addition, are sensitive to pain, and when they hurt all these functions are affected.

We have all had pain in a tooth or tooth at some time in life, which has warned us that something harmful was happening to the teeth. Therefore, in this article we will explain the reasons why teeth are sensitive to pain.

Layers of teeth and sensitivity to pain

Teeth have three basic parts:

  • Root: it is the one that is inside the dental cavity. It results in the non-visible part of the tooth, as it is buried in the alveolar bone. When a tooth is extracted, the root would be the final part.
  • Crown: it is what protrudes from the alveolar bone and is visible.
  • Neck: is what joins the root and the crown.

At the base of the root there is a hole through which the vessels and nerves that nourish the teeth enter, forming what is called the pulp cavity. This pulp cavity is protected by a layer of dentin.

Dentin is made from a mineral matrix, specifically calcium hydroxyapatite. This structure protects the entry of harmful agents into the vessels and nerves of the tooth.

Dentin: protective layer

Dentin is formed by cells called odontoblasts, which are located between the exterior and the pulp cavity. They have extensions that work their way through the dentin.

When there is some alteration in the tooth that affects or destroys the dentin, such as cavitiesthe odontoblasts are able to repair this dentin, and thus the pulp cavity is not unprotected.

But dentin is not enough to protect teeth. An even harder substance is needed to prevent the tooth from breaking every time we chew or speak. This substance is enamel.

Enamel: the hardest layer

The enamel is a layer of high hardness, composed entirely of hydroxyapatite. Dentin is also composed of this mineral, but to a lesser extent and concentration. In addition, it has cavities made by the extensions of the odontoblasts that make it less resistant.

The enamel is white, hard and with a composition of 96% hydroxyapatite. The rest, 4%, contains protein and water. It is made up of cells called ameloblasts that generate enamel before tooth eruption.

Once the tooth resurfaces, the ameloblasts degenerate and the enamel never regenerates again. We stay with the same enamel throughout our lives, which is why its care is important.

Cement: anchor layer

Cement is found around the root of the tooth, above the dentin. Cement is a less hard layer than enamel, since it only contains 65% hydroxyapatite.

The cement is divided into two layers. One of the layers does not contain cells and is formed before the tooth erupts. On the other hand, after the eruption of the tooth and due to functional requirements, a cementum is formed that does have cells called cementum cells, which produce a mineral matrix.

The main function of cement is to anchor the fibers of the periosteum, which is the layer that covers the bone around the tooth. Let’s say it’s the glue that holds the tooth attached to the cavity.

Why are teeth sensitive to pain?

After a bit of tooth anatomy, we can answer this question. We see that the dentin has in its interior extensions of the osteoblast, that is, there is a communication between the dentin and the pulp cavity, where we find the nerve endings.

Enamel does not regenerate, so when it wears out or is destroyed by tooth decay, it stops protecting dentin, which is more susceptible to external factors. Dentin cavities are left open, and external stimuli can reach the nerve endings, causing pain.

To prevent this from happening, you must have good dental hygiene, visit the dentist from time to time, and eat a healthy diet. This way we will preserve the enamel and the dentin will be protected.

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