For millions of people, teeth sensitivity can make life miserable. The pain and discomfort caused by teeth sensitivity can prevent you from taking any hot or cold food. In some cases the teeth may be completely treated from sensitivity.
Causes of Teeth Sensitivity
The part of the tooth covered by enamel is visible to us; this layer protects the softer dentine underneath. If the dentine gets exposed, teeth usually become sensitive. This happens where the tooth and the gum meet that is dentino-cementum junction where the enamel layer is pretty thin.
Toothbrush abrasion caused by brushing vigorously from side to side, causes removal of dentine layer particularly where the teeth meet the gums. The freshly exposed dentine causes teeth sensitivity as the dentinal tubules and the nerve ending get exposed.
The loss of tooth enamel caused by acidity from acidic food and drinks causes tooth erosion, which in turn causes teeth sensitivity due to exposure of dentinal tubules within the exposed dentine.
Gum recession is one more cause of teeth sensitivity where the gums naturally recede (shrink back), and the roots get exposed leading to sensitivity. Root surfaces do not have an enamel layer to protect them.
Plaque or tartar depositions can cause the gum to recede down the tooth and even destroy the bony support of the tooth. Gum diseases or Pockets formed can cause sensitive teeth, as it not only exposes the dentine but due to improper hygiene you might get other infections as well.
Tooth grinding is a habit which involves clenching and grinding the teeth together. This can cause the enamel of the teeth to be worn away, making the teeth sensitive.
A cracked tooth or filling can also cause sensitive teeth as the crack can run from the biting surface of a tooth down towards the root. Extreme temperatures, especially cold or hot, may cause discomfort.
Tooth bleaching can cause teeth sensitivity in some people and this sensitivity is temporary during or after having the teeth bleached. Inform your dentist about your history of teeth sensitivity before bleaching your teeth.
Preventing Teeth Sensitivity (Dentin Hypersensitivity)
The best way to prevent tooth sensitivity is to keep the gums from receding. Reducing the pressure on brushing your teeth helps tremendously. The problem is that our brushing technique is not correct and we brush as if it’s a habit.
Dentists advise people to use an advanced electric toothbrush (plaque remover). These toothbrushes feature pressure sensors that stop the brush when you apply too much pressure. Another option is the Alert toothbrush, which activates a warning light when you brush too hard.
Home Remedies Used to Treat Teeth Sensitivity
By using desensitizing toothpaste you can reduce tooth sensitivity. Unfortunately, widespread tooth sensitivity due to enamel abrasion or gum-line recession can’t be treated with dental fillings. Instead, try using desensitizing toothpaste, which you can buy over the counter. These special toothpastes contain ingredients that diminish sensitivity by filling dental tubules and cover the dentinal nerve endings.
If you brush in the night, after brushing apply some of the desensitizing toothpaste on your finger or on a cotton swab and spreading it over the sensitive spots before you go to bed. Spit, but don’t rinse. Within a few weeks, your teeth should begin to feel less sensitive.
Try using a fluoride rinses, available without a prescription at your local pharmacy or in the dental section of grocery stores, can help decrease sensitivity, especially for people plagued with decay problems. Use it once a day. Swish it around in your mouth, and then spit it out.
Sometimes, people with teeth sensitivity need a stronger fluoride rinse or gel than the ones available in the market. For example, some treatments for gum disease, such as root planning (which reduces plaque), can leave sensitive teeth even more sensitive than the normal conditions. In such situations, dentists can apply a fluoride gel that helps relieve the problem.
By maintaining a good oral hygiene you can avoid teeth sensitivity. Plaque is a white sticky layer formed on the teeth can be removed by brushing at least twice, once in the morning and once before going to bed, and flossing regularly.
Often, people brush with too much force or brushing with a hard-bristled tooth brush, causing damage to the protective tooth enamel. When the gum-line recedes (often as a natural part of the aging process), the exposed dentin becomes even more vulnerable to toothbrush abrasion. Use a brush with soft bristles, and apply only a small amount of pressure while brushing. Always use the correct brushing techniques, if you have any doubt ask your dentist about the techniques.
Chewing tobacco, also known as “dip” or “snuff,” is a popular habit in some youngsters, especially among many male teenagers. They have a wrong impression that tobacco chewing is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. However, in addition to causing mouth cancers, chewing tobacco causes the gums to recede, a major cause of gum sensitivity and decay. Just as there is no safe cigarette, there is no safe tobacco.
Habits like sucking a hard candy, which most of us find no harm fail to understand that it can can cause enamel abrasion and tooth sensitivity.
Treating Teeth Sensitivity
Nowadays, there are very good treatment for teeth sensitivity, your dentist may suggest that you try desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. Desensitizing toothpaste usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced. When you go shopping for tooth paste or any dental care product make sure that they have, the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. It gives you assurance that products have met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.
If the desensitizing toothpaste does not ease your discomfort, your dentist may suggest in-office techniques. A fluoride gel, which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations, may be applied to the sensitive areas of the teeth; it is done in separate sittings depending upon the sensitivity.
If receding gums still cause teeth sensitivity, your dentist may use agents that bond to the tooth root to “seal” the sensitive teeth. The sealer usually is composed of a plastic material and blocks the dentinal tubules.
In cases where hypersensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend endodontic (root canal) treatment to eliminate the problem. Sometimes the use of ceramic or porcelain caps to cover the sensitive teeth can help reduce sensitivity and improve esthetics.