Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients. Kenmore Dentist Dr Rachel Hall of Evolve Dental Healing explains why people get sensitive teeth.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Ok here’s the science – tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin layer of tissue beneath the hard enamel, which results in nerve irritation.
When the hard enamel is worn down by excessive tooth brushing, using a hard toothbrush, ageing or the gums have receded, the tiny tube surfaces get exposed which causes pain when eating foods or drinking hot or cold beverages, touching your teeth, or exposing them to cold air.
Exposed areas of the tooth can cause pain and even affect or change your eating, drinking, and breathing habits.
Excess consumption of acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus juices and fruits and soft drinks, can also put you at risk for tooth sensitivity. Bulimia and acid reflux can also result in erosion of the hard enamel and sensitivity due to acid in the mouth.
How can I avoid sensitive teeth?
Some toothpaste contain abrasive ingredients that may be too harsh for people who have sensitive teeth. Ingredients found in some whitening toothpaste that lighten and/or remove certain stains from enamel and sodium pyrophosphate, the key ingredient in tartar-control toothpaste, may increase tooth sensitivity.
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
Tooth sensitivity can be reduced by using a desensitizing toothpaste or having your dentist apply sealants and other desensitizing and filling materials; and decreasing the intake of acid-containing foods.
Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes and brushing your teeth too hard, which can wear down the tooth’s surface and expose sensitive spots. The way to find out if you’re brushing your teeth too hard is to take a good look at your toothbrush. If the bristles are pointing in multiple directions, you’re brushing too hard.
How do I know when it’s time to see a dentist?
If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days and reacts to hot and cold temperatures, it’s best to get it checked your dentist to determine the extent of the problem.
Before taking the situation into your own hands, an accurate diagnosis of tooth sensitivity is essential for effective treatment to eliminate pain.
Because pain symptoms can be similar, some people might think that a tooth is sensitive, when instead, they actually have a cavity, cracked tooth or abscess that’s not yet visible.
What can the dentist do for my sensitive teeth?
They may prescribe toothpaste for sensitive teeth, which contains a desensitizing agent that protects the exposed dentin by blocking the tubes in the teeth that are connected to nerves. In most cases, these products must be used on a regular basis for at least a month before benefits are noticed.
If you are diagnosed with dentin hypersensitivity, your dentist may apply a desensitizing agent or a protective coating. You may be prescribed an over-the-counter desensitizing toothpaste potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth to the nerve. It also might help to massage the special paste onto your gums with your finger after brushing.
If you have sensitive teeth that are making your life a misery then call our Kenmore dentist office 07 3720 1811 today so we can help you to eat, drink and smile pain-free with confidence again.