More Than a Feeling—Why Teeth Ache

You could learn a lot by paying attention to your teeth. If they feel especially grimy, then it’s probably time to brush and floss them. If your teeth feel sensitive or ache when you eat or drink, then they may be losing their protective layer of enamel, or have suffered damage that you were previously unaware of. Although aching teeth can mean several different things, they never should be ignored, as your Southlake dentists, Dr. Wright and Dr. Heron, explain.

Why So Sensitive, Teeth?

Enamel loss

Tooth enamel is a semi-translucent layer of mineral crystals that surrounds the crowns of your teeth. Ordinarily, it’s the strongest substance your body produces, and protects your main tooth structure from stimulants like hot and cold temperatures, sugary drinks and foods, and infectious oral bacteria. If it grows weak (a precursor to tooth decay), enamel loses its protective abilities and your teeth will become increasingly more sensitive.

Tooth infection

When bacteria slip past weak enamel and reach your tooth’s dentin, the infection can be felt all the way in its nerves, located in the center of the tooth. Known as tooth decay, a progressive tooth infection will consume more of your tooth the longer it’s left untreated.

Tooth damage

While tooth decay is a process, tooth damage can instantaneously expose your teeth’s nerves, or at least irritate them, even if the damage isn’t severe. However, since teeth cannot repair themselves, any damage they sustain should be treated as soon as possible, or you may run a risk of the damage becoming worse and seriously threatening your oral health.

Exposed roots (gum recession)

Gum recession describes the gradual separation of your gum tissues from your teeth. When intact, your gums are the seal that protect your teeth’s roots that are connected to the nerves and blood vessels in the pulp. When gums recede, either due to gum disease or other factors, the exposed roots can send sensory information to the nerves and cause your teeth to ache.


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.