Don’t let sensitive teeth limit your fun. If normal everyday activities such as drinking and eating trigger sudden, sharp pain in your teeth, then it’s high time to get to the root of the problem. Thankfully, tooth sensitivity is only temporary and can be addressed. Your dentist can look into your teeth sensitivity issues and diagnose any underlying dental problems.
What is Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity can happen to any dental patient. In the United States, at least 40 million adults endure tooth sensitivity at some time according to the Academy of General Dentists.
How does tooth sensitivity occur? It starts with the layer of tissue found inside your tooth called dentin. Dentin is softer than enamel and the hard enamel covering it serves as its protective layer. The tooth root, meanwhile, is protected by a bonelike tissue called cementum. When the hard enamel of the tooth is damaged or when gums recede, the dentin gets exposed.
What happens when the dentin gets exposed? The dentin contains tiny tubes or tubules filled with fluid. These tubules lead to the nerve endings. Dentin exposure causes changes in the fluid movement inside the tubules. The changes then triggers the nerve endings to react and results to a sharp pain.
Sensitive Teeth Causes
There are several factors that cause tooth sensitivity.
- Teeth grinding or bruxism causes tooth enamel erosion, which in turn leads to sensitive teeth.
- Gum recession exposes the tooth root, which increases tooth sensitivity.
- The tooth naturally loses and regains minerals. However, a diet that is high in acidic food and drinks can cause the tooth to continue losing minerals.
- When the tooth is no longer able to remineralize, the enamel is eventually destroyed and cavity is formed. This heightens tooth sensitivity.
- Aggressive brushing could lead to damaged tooth enamel.
- You may experience sensitive teeth after getting dental cleaning. This sensitivity should fade eventually. Should it persist, be sure to advise your dentist immediately.
Treating Tooth Sensitivity
You need not endure sensitive teeth. You can ease discomfort with the help of these tips:
- Brushing with desensitizing toothpaste. Your dentist may recommend that you brush regularly with a desensitizing toothpaste. This type of toothpaste is designed to block sensation from reaching the nerve of the tooth.
- Applying fluoride or desensitizing gel on tooth surfaces. Another way you can reduce the pain brought about by sensitive teeth is by letting your dentist apply a fluoride or desensitizing gel on your tooth. Note, however, that this gel can be removed by the intake of acidic or sugary foods.
- Bonding. This solution is more permanent as composite resin is applied to the exposed root surfaces. The bonding resin provides protection from sensitive tooth, however, should be coupled with gentle brushing using a soft toothbrush and warm water.
- Wearing a thermoplastic night guard. If tooth grinding caused your tooth enamel to erode, your dentist might recommend making you a snug fit, thermoplastic night guard, which you can wear during sleep to eliminate tooth grinding.
- Getting a root canal. If all other treatments have been ineffective and you still experience pain on your tooth root, then your dentist might suggest a root canal procedure. This will help treat problems right in the tooth’s pulp.
Your dentist might as well suggest other ways so you can prevent sensitive teeth from recurring such as limiting intake of acidic food and drinks. If you wish to consume acidic beverages, be sure to use a straw to limit contact with your teeth. Another solution is to prevent brushing immediately right after eating or drinking as it makes the teeth all the more vulnerable to erosion.