Tooth sensitivity is a very common dental problem that involves discomfort or pain in teeth when encountering certain substances and temperatures. The pain can vary from dull lingering or sharp and temporary, depending upon the severity and number of teeth affected.
- Tooth brush abrasion: Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. This can wear down enamel, particularly where the gums meet the tooth, causing dentin to become exposed, or encourage gum recession.
- Gum recession: This often happens in people suffering from periodontal disease, and it exposes the dentin.
- Gingivitis: Inflamed and sore gum tissue can result in exposure of the tooth’s root.
- Cracked tooth or filling: These can become filled with bacteria from plaque and cause inflammation in the pulp of the tooth. A crack can run from the biting surface to the tooth downwards till the root. Extreme temperatures can cause discomfort. In more severe cases, it may lead to abscess and infection.
- Teeth grinding or clenching: This can wear down enamel and making the teeth sensitive.
- Tooth whitening: These contain chemicals to remove stains, but can also remove the enamel and can cause temporary sensitivity.
- Long-term use of mouthwash: Some mouthwashes contain acids, the acids can make existing tooth sensitivity worse and further damage the dentin layer.
- Dental erosion: Caused by acidic foods or drinks can encourage enamel reduction.
- Dental procedures: Teeth may be sensitive after professional cleaning, root planning, crown replacement, and other tooth restoration procedures. Usually the pain will disappear in four to six weeks.
Tooth sensitivity can be treated. The cause of what is causing sensitivity should be eliminated first and regular checkup to your dentist and discussing your problems can help to treat you.
Here’s what you can do to fight tooth sensitivity at home or at the dentist office.
- Desensitising toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications at home for about five minutes on the sensitive areas and then brushing teeth. There are also desensitising mouthwashes available too.
- Fluoride gel. An in-office technique that strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
- A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in insensitivity.
- Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal treatment. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.
- Replace your mouthwashes with neutral fluoride mouthwashes available that might be a better option.
- Avoid teeth grinding and use a mouthguard.
- Use soft bristles toothbrush.