As a dentist in clinical practice for a greater part of my life, theres one conclusion I can definitely draw; Most of us take out teeth for granted . This week I profile a common dental problem that can be very painful and bothersome; Tooth Sensitivity.
Why do our teeth feel sensitive ?
The inside of the tooth is made up of a material called Dentin.
This dentin layer has plenty of fine nerve endings and a fluid .The outermost layer called the enamel, protects this Dentin; However for some reason the enamel wears off leaving the dentin exposed and this causes severe tooth sensitivity
The most common cause is aggressive tooth brushing .The enamel covering near the gum is the thinnest. Aggressive tooth brushing with a hard brush can easily wear away the tooth structure and cause extreme sensitivity
Remedy : Immediate change of toothbrush to a soft tooth brush ,gentle technique and the use of a de-sensitising toothpaste for the affected sensitive area.
Erosion or wearing away of tooth structure due to consumption of highly acidic foods and beverages
Eliminate the use of the acidic drinks ,colas and lemon from the diet to prevent any erosion .This may not relieve the pain altogether since the tooth may need more extensive treatment like a full crown or fillings.
Tooth Decay, broken-down fillings and damaged teeth can cause tooth sensitivity due to the exposed Dentin.
Remedy : Its important to have the problematic tooth fixed immediately. Sometimes sensitivity can be extreme and also associated with severe pain; In this case the tooth may need a root canal to relieve the pain
Grinding the teeth or clenching at night may cause tooth damage and also lead to sensitivity
Remedy : Grinding is a habit that may be caused due to stress or by force of habit. The most important step is to eliminate the grinding and clenching .This is done using an appliance called a night guard or a splint to be worn while sleeping .This prevents clenching or grinding thereby preventing the teeth from damage and sensitivity .
Exposed tooth and root-structure due to recession of the gums.
Remedy : The use of de-sensitising toothpaste to relieve the discomfort may be an option .However this may not always work and the situation may warrant grafting of the soft tissue to cover the exposed area. In some extreme cases the tooth may need a root canal to relieve the sensitivity
Sensitivity due to dental treatment .This sensitivity may be transient or longer lasting .
Remedy : Wait and watch for a few days. Most often ,this sensitivity may settle down and disappear completely .However if it doesn’t, the tooth may need more treatment to relieve the sensitivity.
Sensitivity due to a worn-down or damaged bite.
Remedy : A worn-down bite may cause generalised overall sensitivity and discomfort due to the multiple exposed surfaces of the teeth.
The treatment for such a situation may be a complex full mouth rehabilitation to eliminate the sensitivity completely.
De-sensitising Dental Products :
The use of de-sensitising toothpastes for the sensitivity is a great option for immediate relief .
These products work by blocking the sensitive Dentin and preventing the nerves from getting irritated and thereby preventing pain .
Make an appointment with your dentist if you’ve been living long with sensitive teeth that prevent you from eating or drinking your favourite foods .
The solution may really be quite a simple one without any drilling and filling..Don’t delay that dental appointment.
Schedule today for the perfect solution to sensitivity.
Till we meet again next week, take care!
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