Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of a hot drink making you wince with pain? Does brushing or flossing sometimes cause you pain? If so, you may have sensitive teeth. Any sensitivity needs to be checked with a dentist as there could be other possible causes such as tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, grinding or clenching and gum disease. If your dentist has ruled out these problems then it is likely to be tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel that protects the teeth gets thinner or when gum recession occurs, exposing the underlying surface called the dentine. This reduces the protection the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and roots. The dentin contains microscopic tubules which are exposed when the enamel wears thin. These tubules allow heat, cold and acidity to stimulate the nerves inside the tooth. This causes hypersensitivity. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede.
Preventing Tooth Sensitivity
- Incorrect or over brushing can cause gum recession. Teeth should be brushed gently using a soft bristled toothbrush twice a day. A soft brush can prevent tooth abrasion and prevent enamel wear. Use short strikes following an up and down movement.
- Avoiding acidic foods and drink can help prevent sensitivity and enamel wear.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel.
- Flossing once a day can help get rid of plaque on the gum line and keeps gum healthy thus avoiding gum disease.
- Desensitising toothpastes; These contain compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. Put some paste on your finger and directly apply on the sore spot and gently massage.
- Desensitising products; The dental team can treat the affected teeth with fluoride gels and varnishes. These can be painted on to the teeth at regular appointments to build up protection. If this does not alleviate symptoms the dentist may seal or fill around the neck of the tooth to cover exposed dentine.
- Surgical gum grafts; This will replace the lost gum tissue from the root.
- Root Canal Therapy; If the sensitivity is severe and persistent and does not respond to other methods.
- Get treated for Bruxism: if you grind or clench your teeth use a mouth guard at night. Grinding your teeth can cause the enamel of the teeth to wear away, making the teeth sensitive.
If you would like further advice please feel free to call the Mayhill Dental Centre on 01600 712020 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Dr Hart
Thank you very much indeed for sorting out the problem I came to you with recently. I knew that at least one of my front teeth
would need to be extracted and dreaded the thought of the denture I thought I would have to wear from now on. Instead, you have given me a strong,
comfortable bridge which sits well with the teeth on either side. I much appreciate, too, the understanding you showed me as a patient, making sure that eating would not be a problem and that my mouth looked and felt as natural as possible throughout the treatment. I am very much obliged to you.
– Patricia Piper [ May 2017 ]