Sensitive teeth or dentine hypersensitivity occurs when a sensation is felt due to the nerves inside the dentin of the teeth becoming exposed as a result of receding gum tissue (the covering of the tooth roots). The dentine contains thousands of tiny microscopic tubular structures that lead to the tooth's nerve center or what is known as the pulp. When an individual feels the pain of hot, cold, or sweet sensations it's because the dentinal tubules allow the stimuli to reach the nerve of your tooth.
What are the Signs and Dangers?
There are several signs and dangers that produce tooth sensitivity including:
- Receding Gums - the root surface becomes exposed as gums move away from a tooth.
- Brushing too hard - the enamel can get worn down and expose the dentin over time if you brush too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Gum recession is not too uncommon as well.
- Teeth grinding or clenching may war the enamel down and expose dentin.
- Plaque build-up on the root surfaces.
- Gum disease (gingivitis) - Supporting ligaments lead straight to the nerve of the tooth. If these ligaments lose support the result can be inflamed or sore gum tissue which produces tooth sensitivity.
- Cracked tor chipped teeth enable bacteria and plaque to enter the pulp and wreak havoc.
- Tooth whitening products.
- Continued use of mouthwash - Some over-the-counter mouthwashes, if used for a long time, can make tooth sensitivity worse because they contain acids which can continue to damage the dentin.
- Eating acidic foods on a regular basis with high acidic contents can cause erosion of the enamel. Examples of acidic foods include: tomatoes, citrus fruits, pickles, wine, and tea. One recommendation is to avoid tooth brushing for about two to three hours after ingesting acidic foods or drinks.
Consider the following steps to prevent tooth sensitivity:
You'll want to replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months.
It is critical to maintain good oral hygiene by continually following a proper oral regimen. This includes thorough flossing and brushing with a soft bristled brush all parts of your teeth and mouth. Proper brushing with produce less tooth sensitivity and abrasion on the tooth surface. Be careful around the gum line as to not remove more gum tissue.
Use desensitizing toothpaste which contains potassium nitrate. It is believed that potassium ions diffuse along the dentinal tubules to inactivate intradental nerves. With many brands available on the market that target tooth sensitivity, you may need to utilize different brands to see which works the best for you.
Conscious eating and the decrease of highly acidic foods can gradually deteriorate tooth enamel and produce dentin exposure.
Avoid grinding or clenching your teeth. Apply a mouth guard if this is a difficult task for you.
Regular dental visits can provide effective prevention methods but after effect treatment methods as well.
Treatments applied by the dentist:
If sensitivity persists your dentist may apply white fillings (bonding) to cover
exposed root surfaces. They may even deem fluoride varnishes or oxalate products
as appropriate treatments because they decrease permeability of dentin
Along the same lines, dentin sealers effective methods to treating tooth sensitivity
and would be applied to the exposed root surface. If you grind your teeth
considerably they may recommend wearing a specially made night guard or retainer.
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