Sensitive teeth can be very painful but there are many treatments for sensitive teeth available so you don’t have to needlessly suffer.
Overall though, if you attend regular dental appointments twice a year, your dentist will be able to advise you if your teeth need any additional care. This will help to avoid the possibility of developing sensitive teeth which are usually caused by something quite preventable. It’s not acceptable for you to ignore your teeth when they feel sensitive. You will be enduring unnecessary pain if you don’t make an appointment at your dentist to help identify and fix the problem.
How you will know if your teeth are too sensitive
You have sensitive teeth when you sip a hot drink or eat something ice-cold like ice cream you will feel a tinge of pain. It may not be so bad that you are holding your mouth in agony. But any pain but is a warning sign to you that it’s time to find out what’s causing this to take place. When you floss and brush your teeth if you wince then it’s time to make an appointment with your dentist. It’s important not to put it off as the pain could get worse.
Possible causes of sensitive teeth are:
- cavity formation and early tooth decay;
- a fractured tooth or teeth;
- worn fillings which expose sensitive parts of your teeth;
- gum disease;
- worn down tooth enamel;
- exposed tooth root.
The above starts to take place if damage has been done to the outer layer of your teeth and gums. If your teeth are totally healthy that means the enamel, covering your teeth is in good condition. When the enamel is healthy then no cavities are beginning to form exposing the inner more sensitive parts of your teeth. Additionally, below your gum line, there is another protective layer cementum that protects the tooth’s root. Under both the cementum and the enamel there is an inner layer called dentin.
What is the role of dentin?
Dentin isn’t quite as dense as cementum and enamel and it’s composed of tiny tubes. When the dentin has lost its protective coating of cementum or enamel these tiny tubes let the effects of both heat and cold from liquid or food as well as sticky and acidic substances gain access to the cells and nerves that are found inside the teeth causing a feeling of uncomfortable sensitivity. When gums recede the dentin can become exposed also causing uncomfortable sensitivity.
Treatments for sensitive teeth
This is where your dentist fits into the picture. After diagnosing the cause of the sensitivity, the dentist will be able to advise on what treatment options there are available in your situation.
- Desensitizing toothpaste is one possible solution. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth contains ingredients that are able to block the feeling of sensitivity that is being transmitted from the surface of the tooth to its nerve.
- Fluoride gel can be used by your dentist to strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the sensitive feeling.
- Your dentist can also correct the problem by using a crown, dental bonding or an inlay. All these can sort out any damage or decay which is causing the uncomfortable sensitivity.
- If necessary a gum graft could be installed. This is if you have lost so much gum tissue that the root is too sensitive and needs an extra protective layer.
- As a final resort, your dentist might suggest a root canal.
Preventing sensitive teeth
Proper brushing and flossing and regular twice-annual dental visits go a long way towards avoiding painful sensitive teeth.