What are sensitive teeth?
Havingsensitive teeth can mean anything form getting a mild twinge to having severediscomfort that can continue for sever hours.
It canalso be an early warning sign of more serious dental problems.
Who suffers form sensitive teeth?
Manypeople suffer from sensitive teeth and it can start at any time. Common inpeople aged between 20 and 40, although it can affect people in their earlyteens and when they are over 70.women are more likely to be affected then men.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Thepart of the tooth we can is covered by a layer of enamel that protects thedentine underneath. If the dentine is exposed, a tooth can become sensitive.This usually happens where the tooth and the gum meet and the enamel layer ismuch thinner.
Here are some causes of sensitivity.
Toothbrush abrasion – brushing too hard, and brushing form side to, cancause enamel to be worn away, particularly where the teeth meet the gums. Thefreshly exposed dentine may then become Dental erosion sensitive.
Dental erosion– this is loss of tooth enamel caused by attacks of acidfrom acidic food and drinks. If enamel is worn away the dentine underneath isexposed, which may lead to sensitivity.
Gum recession - gunsmay naturally recede (shrink bank),and the root will become exposed and can bemore sensitive. Root surfaces do not have an enamel layer to protect them.
Gum disease – a build –up of tartar can cause the gum to recede downthe tooth and even destroy the bony support of the tooth. Pockets can form inthe gums around the tooth, making the area difficult to keep clean and theproblem worse.
Tooth grinding- this is a habit which involves cleaning and grindingthe teeth together. This can causes the enamel of the teeth to be worn away,making the teeth sensitive.
Other causes of pain from sensitivity may be:
A cracked tooth or filling- acracked tooth is one that has become broken. A crack can run from the bitingsurface of a tooth down towards the root. Extreme temperatures, especiallycold, may cause discomfort.
Tooth bleaching- somepatients have sensitivity for a short time during or after having their teethbleached. Discuss this with your dentist before having treatment
When are teeth more likely to be sensitive?
Youare more likely to feel the sensitivity when drinking or eating something cold,from cold air catching your teeth, and sometimes with hot foods drinks. Thepain can come and go, with some times being worse than others.
Is there anything I can do to treat sensitive teeth at home?
Thereare many brands of toothpaste on the market made to help ease the pain ofsensitive teeth. The toothpaste should be used twice a day to brush your teeth.It can also be rubbed onto the sensitive areas.
Thesetoothpastes can take anything from a few days to several weeks to take effect.Your dentist should be able to advise you on which type of toothpaste would bebest for you.
Is there anything I should avoid if I have sensitive teeth?
Youmay find that hot, cold, sweet or acidic drink, or foods like ice cream canbring on sensitive, so you may want to avoid these. If you have sensitive whenbrushing your teeth with cold water from the tap, you may need to use warmwater instead. It is important you do not avoid brushing your teeth regularlyas this could make the problem woase.
Do I need to go and see my dentist?
Yes,if you have tried treating your sensitive teeth for a few weeks and have had noimprovement.
What treatment can the dentist offer?
Duringan examination the dentist teeth will talk to you about symptoms. They willlook at your teeth to find out what is causing the sensitive and to find thebest way or treating it.
Thedentist may treat the affected teeth with special de-sensitive products to helprelieve the symptoms.
Fluoridegels, rinses or varnishes can be applied to sensitive teeth. These can bepainted onto the teeth at regular appointment one or two weeks apart, to buildup some protection. Sensitive can take some time to settle, and you may need tohave several appointments.
Ifthis still does not help, your dentist may seal or fill around the neck of thetooth, where the tooth and gum meet, to cover exposed dentine.
Invery serious cause it may be necessary to root-fill the tooth.
How can I prevent sensitive teeth?
Brushyour teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Use smallcircular movements with a soft-to medium-bristled brush. Try to avoid brushingyour teeth from side to side.
Changeyour toothbrush every two to there months, or sooner if it becomes worn.
Havesugary foods, and fizzy and acidic drinks less often. Try to have them only atmealtimes.
If yougrind your teeth, talk to your dentist about the possibility of having amouth guard made to wear at night.
If youare thinking about having your teeth bleached, discuss sensitive with dentistbefore starting treatment.
Visityour dentist at least once a year for a check up.