Learn more about the causes of sensitive teeth and find out how Envisage Dental can help
Why are my teeth sensitive?
We all will experience teeth sensitivity at some points in our lives. The pain of tooth sensitivity is usually sharp, sudden and shooting and may only last for a few seconds. But, this is enough to get our attention. We normally need some stimuli like something hot, or cold, or acidic, or sweet to set off this sharp shooting pain. We might even have this sensitivity while brushing.
Enamel, the outer layer of teeth, is the hardest tissue in the human body. It is the armour a tooth must have on to protect it against many different chemicals in food and bodily fluids. When a tooth loses enamel, the dentine is exposed. Sensitivity occurs when the dentin becomes exposed. The dentin has microscopic channels, called tubules, which are pathways to the nerve. When these tubules are exposed, due to receding gum tissue or enamel loss, nerves are more easily triggered by certain stimuli causing tooth sensitivity.
What can cause sensitive teeth?
Factors contributing to the dentin becoming exposed include the followings:
- incorrect brushing technique stripping gum off the root surface
- a hard-bristle toothbrush can wear down tooth structure and gum
- teeth grinding during sleep can cause the enamel to wear away, exposing the sensitive and soft dentine that can wear down very fast.
- temporary teeth sensitivity after dental cleanings and teeth-whitening treatment.
- gum disease resulting in the loss of connective tissues in the gum, exposing the root surfaces
- loss of enamel due to excessive acids in foods and drinks, or chronic acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
No matter what the cause might be, it would be better that you have your problem checked out by a dentist just in case this is a sign of an underlying problem more severe than what it presents.
Treatments for teeth sensitivity
After your dentist has come to the diagnosis of the cause of your teeth sensitivity problem, he/she will provide the following treatments
- if the dentine is exposed due to improper brushing technique and/or the use of hard bristle toothbrush, you will be given the appropriate instructions to stop further damage. Tooth colour fillings will be placed to cover the exposed dentine if the defect is big enough to receive one. Normally the tooth is cleaned without any drilling before the filling is placed.
- if the teeth are sensitive due to grinding during sleep, a night guard will be prescribed to stop further damage to these teeth.
- sensitivity after a dental clean or whitening treatment should normally subside after a few days.
- gum disease should be properly treated to hopefully stop further loss of gum tissues. Fillings are placed over exposed dentine wherever possible.
- avoid acidic foods and drinks to prevent further loss of enamel. Fillings, veneers or maybe even crowns are required to cover and protect teeth with excessive acid wear.
After receiving the above treatments, you can use a sensitivity toothpaste twice a day to control tooth sensitivity.