Do you find everyday activities such as eating or drinking hot and cold foods, or even just brushing and flossing your teeth makes you wince with pain? If so you are likely to have sensitive teeth or dentin hypersensitivity. This is a very common condition that causes temporary pain in your teeth whenever they are exposed to certain items and temperature changes.
WHAT CAUSES SENSITIVE TEETH?
Sensitive teeth are typically caused by the tooth enamel becoming worn, or can be due to exposed tooth roots. When the protective layer of tooth enamel is worn away from your teeth it exposes the dentin. This is a much softer substance that consists of lots of tiny tubules that lead directly to the center of your tooth containing all the nerves and root canals. When the dentin is exposed it will transmit temperature changes to the nerves, causing pain and sensitivity.
Minute cracks can develop in your teeth as a result of temperature changes in the mouth, or due to clenching or grinding habits. These can open up whenever you bite and chew, or whenever you eat or drink something that is very hot or very cold. This exposes the dentin, allowing the sensations to penetrate right to the nerves of the tooth.
Tooth sensitivity can also be due to other factors such as having a chipped tooth, an untreated cavity, or it can be a side-effect of teeth bleaching.
GETTING A DIAGNOSIS
Booking an appointment with Midtown Dentistry in Houston will enable Dr. Jonathan Penchas to identify the cause of the problem, and to recommend a solution. This could mean you require treatment, or in lesser cases it might be something you can manage through making simple changes to your lifestyle and oral hygiene routine.
TREATMENTS FOR SENSITIVE TEETH
- If you have any untreated cavities then these will need to be filled
- Exposed root surfaces will need to be covered up or sealed
- Chips and cracks to teeth can often be mended through dental bonding, a simple process that uses composite resin to cover-up the affected areas
- If you are in severe pain then it’s possible the root canal of the tooth might be infected, and in this case root canal therapy will be necessary to treat the tooth
- Fluoride can be applied topically to sensitive areas to help strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce pain
- If your teeth have become cracked due to teeth grinding then your dentist may suggest fitting a night guard
Caring for Sensitive Teeth at Home
If your tooth sensitivity has been caused by over-brushing, you’ll be recommended to use a soft bristled toothbrush combined with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. This works by helping to block up the tubules in the dentin, gradually eliminating the sensitivity.
Dental enamel can also be worn away through acid erosion, and limiting your intake of acidic foods and drinks can help. Whenever you eat something acidic try to drink milk or water afterwards to help increase the pH levels in your mouth. After eating something acidic, wait a while before brushing the tooth enamel will gradually re-harden as the pH levels begin to return to normal.