Source: Dental Hub
So you’ve sat down after a long, hard day and you’re ready to enjoy one of those guilty pleasures in life; a bowl of your favourite flavoured ice cream. You take your first spoonful and it hits you like a punch in the face, a screaming pain in your tooth. You know this feeling, you’ve had it many times before when you consume cold things. Any time a cold drink touches your teeth or you eat something sweet, the same sharp sensation occurs. What you are experiencing is commonly known as sensitive teeth also known as dentine hypersensitivity.
Sensitivity is usually experienced as a sudden burst of pain or tingling feeling from your teeth when subject to a certain stimulus, such as cold or sweet.
It can range from mild discomfort to the point at which it is debilitating enough to effect your life.
Why does it happen?
The cause of sensitive teeth is a condition known as dentine hypersensitivity. The dentine is the soft inner part of the tooth under the hard outer enamel surface. This part of your tooth contains nerve fibers that communicate with the nerves that give your teeth feeling, so any kind of exposure to cold things, air, sweet, touch or heat can elicit a strong reaction.
The most common causes of tooth sensitivity are when the tooth enamel has been lost, exposing sensitive dentine.
4 Reasons For Loss Of Tooth Enamel
- Receding Gums
- Tooth wear caused by incorrect brushing such as a hard brush or scrubbing action
- Tooth wear caused by a high exposure to acid, either dietary or medical conditions such as reflux
- Recently placed fillings
Underlying dental conditions that may be experienced as tooth sensitivity
- Tooth decay
- Cracked teeth
- Grinding (also known as bruxism)
- Broken or leaking fillings
- Gum disease
- Tooth whitening
Let Your Dentist Help
It’s important to book an appointment with your dentist to make sure whether there is an underlying condition for your sensitivity which may require treatment or referral to a specialist.
Once your dentist confirms that what you are experiencing is dentine hypersensitivity with no other conditions present, they may recommend that you brush your teeth with a desensitizing toothpaste, which contains special chemicals to control pain from sensitive teeth.
TIP: An especially effective way to use a desensitizing toothpaste is to rub a small amount on the area that is bothering you and without rinsing, leave over night to perform its action.
Sensitivity that is caused by conditions such as receding gums is an issue that in some cases, cannot be cured, so lifetime management may be necessary to reduce symptoms as much as possible
Helpful tips to control dentinal hypersensitivity
- Maintain good oral hygiene and regular visits to your Dentist
- Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the correct way to brush without damaging your teeth or gums
- Always use a soft toothbrush to minimize damage
- Reduce intake and frequency of acidic foods
- Use a straw for acidic drinks
- Rinse with water and avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes after taking acidic foods or drinks