Why are my teeth sensitive?
Have you ever felt a sharp stinging sensation while you are enjoying a scoop of ice cream, sipping cup of tea in the morning or just drinking glass of cold water? This sudden pain or sensation is called tooth sensitivity. At Heritage Dental Group, our experienced dentists try to identify causes of tooth sensitivity and steps you can take to combat sensitive teeth and gain optimum oral health.
What is tooth sensitivity?
If you are experiencing sudden sharp pain, while consuming hot and cold foods, or sometimes just breathing in leaves you with intense pain that means you are suffering from tooth sensitivity or dentin hypersensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is usually caused by dentin on root areas exposed due receded gums. When the root of a tooth becomes exposed it does not have a layer of enamel like the crowns of your teeth. Instead the roots have a very soft covering called cementum, which once lost leaves the dentin of the root exposed.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Some of the common causes of sensitive teeth may include:
Brushing too hard causing gum recession – If your brushing too hard you are taking off more than just plaque.
Tooth decay – untreated cavity or worn down dental filling may expose the nerve and give you sensitivity
Grinding your teeth – grinding teeth wears away your enamel
Gingivitis – if you have gum disease, it causes irritation, redness and swelling around the base of your teeth, common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene
Naturally shrinking gums – If you are over 40, it could be just wear and tear and your teeth roots are getting exposed
Consuming acidic foods – Acidic foods wear down enamel, Soda, lemons, grapefruit or kiwi fruit, acidic drinks or sticky sugary candies
Teeth whitening toothpastes – some teeth whitening product make your teeth sensitive by damaging the enamel
Plaque build ups – Plaque build up can recede the gums
Results of dental procedures – Teeth may become sensitive after fillings, professional cleaning, root canal or replacement of crown or other tooth restoration. But usually settles down in 4-6 weeks.
How to treat tooth sensitivity?
Chances of getting sensitive teeth can be reduced with proper oral hygiene and by consulting your dentist. Inform your dentist about the tooth sensitivity on your regular dental visit. Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums and will identify the causes and the treatment. Not one single treatment can cure tooth sensitivity as there are different reasons for different people. It is also important to tell your dentist in case the cause is not dentin (root) hypersensitivity and the tooth is sensitive due to some serious medical problems.
To treat tooth sensitivity, your dentist may recommend that you use a soft toothbrush with sensitive toothpaste. These toothpastes make the teeth less sensitive if you brush with them twice a day and contains fluoride which helps protecting your teeth from decay. Alternatively, your dentist may prescribe a brush-on fluoride gel or a fluoride rinse, or a high fluoride level toothpaste that is specially formulated to make your teeth less sensitive and provides extra protection against decay.
You should ask your dentist about the best way to treat your sensitivity.
Tips to minimize tooth sensitivity:
- Fluoride Treatment
Your dentist will recommend fluoride treatment to strengthen your tooth enamel and may prescribe high strength fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse.
- Dietary Changes
Reducing the intake of acidic drinks and foods also gives relief from tooth sensitivity.
- Good oral hygiene habits
Use soft bristle toothbrush to brush your teeth and brush your teeth gently. Brush and floss at least twice a day.
Using a sensitive toothpaste helps with tooth sensitivity. Choose an alcohol-free mouth rinse.
- Wear a Mouth guard
If you are grinding your teeth, inform the dentist and he will suggest Mouth guard or Occlusal splint
Avoid brushing your teeth within 30 minutes of consuming food
- Consult your Dentist
Sometimes sensitive teeth can be a warning sign for major dental or medical problems. Consult our Gentle Caring Dentists to figure out what’s causing your teeth sensitivity and the best ways to treat it.
Contact us on 38783384 or Book Online