What is tooth sensitivity?
It can be defined as a painful reaction in one or more teeth triggered by hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks. This pain can be sharp, sudden and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth. Apart from a cavity or a missing filling, the most common cause of tooth sensitivity is exposed dentin on the roots of your teeth.
Causes of exposed root surfaces which may result in dentinal sensitivity:
• Brushing too hard - Over a period of time, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush may wear away enamel or cementum and cause the dentin to be exposed.
• Recession of the gums - Movement of gums away from the tooth due to periodontal disease will expose the root surface.
• Gum disease - Inflamed and sore gum tissue may also cause sensitivity due to the loss of supporting ligaments which exposes root.
Other causes of sensitive teeth:
• Cracked teeth - Chipped or broken teeth may fill up with bacteria from plaque and enter the pulp causing an inflammatory reaction.
• Grinding your teeth - Grinding or clenching your teeth may wear down the enamel and expose underlying dentin.
• Plaque- The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause sensitivity.
What to do at home:
• Maintain good oral hygiene - Continue to clean all parts of your teeth and mouth thoroughly.
• Use a soft bristled toothbrush - This will result in less toothbrush abrasion of the tooth surface.
• Use desensitizing toothpaste - There are many on the market. With regular use you should feel a decreased sensitivity.
• Consider what you eat - If you frequently eat foods high in acids, such as citrus fruits (example: sucking on lemons), they can gradually dissolve the enamel over time, leading to dentin exposure.
• Use fluoridated dental products - As an example,with a daily application of a fluoridated mouth rinse, hypersensitivity usually decreases.
• Professional Care: Ask your dentist, about professional products that may be used to help reduce sensitivity. Some of the most common treatments are:
• White fillings to cover exposed root surfaces
• Fluoride varnish applied to the exposed root surface
• Dentin sealer applied to the exposed root surface
You don’t have to suffer with sensitivity!!