Sensitive Teeth and How to Deal With Them

Sensitive teeth are probably among one of the most prevalent dental conditions affecting adults. In fact, in the USA alone, at least 40 million people are known to suffer from the condition. It is denoted by a heightened sensitivity, discomfort, and sometimes even a sharp pain when the teeth are exposed to specific ranges of temperature. The most common form presents as an aversion to cold substances in the mouth such as iced or chilled drinks and popsicles or other cooled foods or drinks.
Millions of individuals worldwide suffer the condition in relative silence and lessen the effects by simply avoiding whatever triggers the condition for them. The good news is that there are ways to manage and treat the condition and bring relief for many that have to tolerate it. In this article, we will look at why it happens and what can be done to improve the condition.

So what is the cause of sensitive teeth?

Anyone can suffer from sensitive teeth and there is little evidence to suggest that any specific group or demographic are at risk of developing the condition. Under normal and ideal circumstances the softer layer of the tooth known as the dentin is protected by the harder outer material, the enamel. In much the same way, the roots of the teeth are afforded protection of the gums. In situations where the enamel has worn down or the gums have receded, you have the ideal scenario for sensitive teeth. In short, exposing the dentin of the tooth in any way, from cavities and erosion to cracks and gum exposure, can lead to nerve sensitivity.

The dentin is composed of thousands of tiny tubes that lead to the pulp of the tooth and these are the likely candidates for causing the pain. Sticky substances, heat, and cold are able to travel down these exposed microscopic tubes and that equals the sharp pain associated with sensitive teeth.
Some of the factors that can often contribute to sensitive teeth include but are by no means limited to:

  • Over-brushing or brushing too hard which not only wears down the tooth enamel but also encourages the gums to recede
  • Gum recession itself, particularly as a result of a periodontal disease which again exposes the dentin
  • Gingivitis which inflames the gums, can also expose the roots of the teeth and cause the same sharp pain effect
  • Cracked or broken teeth and plaque build-ups can even cause inflammation within the pulp of the tooth which is also a common cause of abscesses and deep infections
  • Grinding of the teeth (conscious and unconsciously), over acidic mouthwashes, and acidic foods will all contribute towards the issue
  • Even some dental treatments such as fillings and whitening can lead to temporary tooth sensitivity
So what’s the good news for sufferers of sensitive teeth?

A reputable and professional dentist will first carry out a thorough examination of the teeth and gums to ascertain what is causing the sensitivity.
Through correct diagnosis, your dentist can then greatly alleviate sensitivity through corrective treatments and recommended oral hygiene practices. There is, of course, no “one size fits all” approach in dealing with the issue of sensitive teeth because there are many causes and each patient is different.

Helping yourself when dealing with sensitive teeth

There is a wide range of relatively inexpensive desensitizing toothpastes on the market and your dentist may even recommend one to you. Sometimes trying different products is the best way to ascertain which works best for you. Fluoride-based toothpastes work much better with sensitivity than those recommended for tartar control so make certain that you avoid the latter.
Using a softer brush, washing daily with a fluoridated mouthwash, and avoiding acidic food and drink will all contribute towards alleviating the symptoms of sensitive teeth. If grinding your teeth is identified as a cause of sensitivity using a mouth guard may also prove beneficial.
If you are suffering from the effects of sensitive teeth relief is at hand here at Signal Hill Dental Centre. Contact one of our helpful and friendly team today for all your dental and oral hygiene requirements.