What do you feel?
Do you feel a shooting pain in your teeth when eating or drinking something hot? Does the thought of biting into ice cream or a cold hard apple make you wince? Sensitive teeth can be a burden for many people and can be caused by several things. It is always important to seek advice from a dental professional so the source of the problem can be identified and treated.
One cause of sensitivity is dental erosion, which is the loss of tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard outer coating of a tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. If the enamel is worn away or eroded, this dentine is exposed which can lead to pain and sensitivity, which can be worsened with extreme temperatures.
- Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. This can wear down enamel, causing dentin to become exposed, or encourage gum recession.
- Acidic foods. Food and drinks with a high acid content, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, and tea, can wear down enamel.
- Gum recession. This often happens in people suffering from periodontal disease, and it exposes the dentin.
- Damage and tooth decay. Chipped or broken teeth may fill with bacteria. The bacteria can enter the pulp, causing inflammation.
- Gum Disease. Inflamed and sore gum tissue can result in exposure of the tooth’s root.
- Age. Teeth are most sensitive between ages 25 and 30
- Cracked teeth. These can become filled with bacteria from plaque and cause inflammation in the pulp of the tooth. In more severe cases, it may lead to abscess and infection.
- Teeth grinding. This can wear down enamel.
- Tooth-whitening products. These contain harsh chemicals to remove stains, but can also remove the enamel.
- Plaque buildup. The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause sensitivity.
- Long-term use of mouthwash. Some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain acids. If dentin is exposed dentin, the acids can make existing tooth sensitivity worse and also further damage the dentin layer. There are neutral fluoride mouthwashes available that might be a better option.
- Dental procedures. Teeth may be sensitive after professional cleaning, root planing, crown replacement and other tooth restoration procedures. Usually the pain will disappear in four to six weeks
- Use Desensitizing toothpaste. There are several brands of toothpaste for sensitive teeth available. Be sure to use fluoridated toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Try spreading a thin layer of the desensitizing toothpaste on the exposed tooth roots before bed.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Avoid highly acidic foods.
- Use a fluoridated mouthwash daily.
- Avoid teeth grinding. Consider getting a mouth guard.
- Dental sealants may be applied to the exposed root surface.
- Desensitizing treatment: applying a special desensitizing agent on the exposed root surface can help to decrease sensitivity. A gum shield also can be made, what you can use to place desensitizing gel on your teeth and leave it on for an hour or so. The gel can block the dentin tubules and therefore decrease the sensitivity.
- Bonding, crowns or inlays: These may fix a tooth flaw or decay that is causing sensitivity.
- Fluoride gel application
- Surgical gum graft: This will protect the root and reduce sensitivity if the gum tissue has eroded from the root.
- Root canal treatment:This is a last-resort treatment for severe tooth sensitivity that has not been helped by other methods.