What is tooth sensitivity and Why do we have them

tooth sensitivity

Are you having short sharp pain when you have cold or hot drinks, sweet or acidic foods? Do you find yourself chewing on one side of your mouth to avoid discomfort? Well you are not alone. More than half the population suffers from tooth sensitivity. Teeth, as you may know are made up three main parts.

  1. The outer layer, which is a hard protective covering called enamel.
  2. The softer middle layer called dentine.
  3. The innermost layer containing the pulp chamber.Pulp is where the nerves and blood supply are located.

The middle layer or dentine is made up of many tubules containing fluid. When the fluid in the tubules are stimulated, a signal is transmitted.Then the brain perceives this signal as pain and or sensitivity. This is often referred to as dentine hypersensitivity.Often, the tooth root is hidden under the gum-line and has a protective layer called cementum around it.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Acidic environments created by soda, carbonated drinks, dissolved lollies or even aggressive tooth brushing can cause the cementum to be worn away.Thus this will expose the dentine layer, resulting in sensitivity.  Furthermore, tooth sensitivity may also be triggered by:

  • exposed dentine/ roots as result of gum recession
  • Whitening Processes (which is not caused by dentine hypersensitivity)
  • exposure to hot/ cold temperatures
  • acidic and sweet foods
  • dental procedures such as scale and cleans
  • large filling procedures resulting in post- operative sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity may also be indicative of an underlying cavity or a problem that requires further investigation by a dentist. Hence, if you are suffering from the problem, you should let your dentist know right away.Dental professionals can address the problem.They provide some specialised products that can help relieve symptoms. Why chew on only one side of the mouth when you can chew on both? Address the root of the problem and seek dental advice when you can. In the meantime, some products that can help are:

  • Desensitising toothpaste i.e. Sensodyne, Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength Toothpaste
  • Tooth mousse (remineralising agent: CCP-ACP)
  • Higher fluoride treatment: topical full mouth application or higher concentration of fluoride toothpaste

How can we help:

Although sensitivity is a common problem, it does not have to be permanent.Symptoms can disappear within 2 to 4 weeks. Determining the problem can allow dental practitioners to address the underlying pathology.This will lead to alleviate the symptoms sooner rather than later. If in doubt, always ask the advice of a dental professional.As they can save you valuable time, money and more importantly, unnecessary pain.  You should not have to worry about consuming cold drinks or sip a warm beer to avoid the pain. Contact Gorgeous Smiles to stop tooth sensitivity from ruining your daily routine.

Read more about tooth sensitivity here.

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