Do you get a painful jolt when you eat or drink hot or cold foods? Dentine hypersensitivity or teeth sensitivity is a common dental problem that develops over time due to factors such as receding gums, vigorous tooth brushing, and grinding of teeth.
Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Our teeth are hollow, and the hard-exterior surface of our tooth is called enamel. The enamel covers a softer, yellow portion called the dentin. Inner to the dentin is a collection of blood vessels and nerves that connect to the main nerves of the jaw, called the pulp.
Most of the time, wearing down of the enamel causes teeth sensitivity.
However, this is not always the cause and some of the below can cause teeth sensitivity:
- Dental decay
- Fractured teeth
- Defective fillings
- Cracked tooth
- Gum disease
- Receding gums
- Orthodontic treatment
- Teeth whitening procedures
- Teeth grinding
- Other causes can be bulimia, where stomach acid commonly erodes the enamel on the front teeth, and acid damage to the front teeth from chronic sucking and eating lemons or other citrus fruits
Treatment of Teeth Sensitivity
If teeth sensitivity is mild, you can use a few of the below methods:
- Choose toothpaste labeled for use on sensitive teeth. This toothpaste will not have any irritating ingredients and may have desensitising ingredients that help block the discomfort from traveling to the nerve of the tooth.
- Use soft toothbrushes and brushing gently can also help.
- Choose alcohol-free mouthwash as it will be less irritating to sensitive teeth.
If your sensitivity does not reduce or it is causing you stress, you will need to see a dentist who may prescribe you special toothpaste and mouthwash. Your dentist may also apply a fluoride gel or prescription-grade desensitising agent in the clinic which can help to strengthen the enamel and protect your teeth.
Your dentist may also consider the below treatments:
- Filling or capping decayed, fractured, or cracked teeth.
- Periodic scale and clean or definitive periodontal surgery or treatment.
- Gum surgery for receding gums or gum graft.
- Prescribe mouthguards to reduce impact sensitivity caused by teeth grinding.
- Less common causes of tooth sensitivity are addressed by eliminating any medical disorders or chronic habits.
Your dentist also might investigate if there are any underlying medical conditions that cause tooth sensitivity such as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) or bulimia.
Talk to us if you are experiencing teeth sensitivity