Teeth Sensitivity

What is teeth sensitivity?

Every time you consume something hot or cold, a mild to sharp painful sensation arising within the teeth is known as teeth sensitivity. Although this sensation is temporary, its effects can be long lasting & detrimental to oral health.

Why do teeth become sensitive?

The outermost layer of tooth, called enamel, is the layer that protects your teeth. When this layer wears off or gets destroyed (due to reasons discussed below), the inner layer, called dentin, gets exposed. This exposure of dentin to extreme temperatures causes the problems of sensitivity & hypersensitivity.

The reasons for this exposure can be varied:

  • Worn tooth enamel – could be due to:

    1) Improper brushing techniques, - too much acidic food & drinks consumption or

    2) teeth grinding

  • Exposed tooth roots due to gum disease. In gum disease, the gums may naturally shrink back exposing the dentin of roots hence causing sensitivity.

  • Cavities – In the initial stages of dental decay, the cavitated areas of teeth become sensitive.

  • Enamel cracks/ chips : Small cracks or chipping of enamel can make the tooth mildly sensitive.

  • Failing dental restorations – A failing crown or filling that has leakage under it becomes sensitive as the dentin layer gets exposed.

How to deal with sensitivity?
  • There are a lot of toothpastes available in the market to cater to sensitive teeth. Some common ones are Colgate sensitive or Sensodyne by Oral B.

  • You may even rub a little paste on the specific area of the tooth causing sensitivity and leave it on overnight without rinsing it off.

  • Make sure you change your tooth brush every 3 months or when the bristles wear out.

  • Minimize intake of sugary, acidic foods or limit them to meal times.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste & a soft-to-medium bristle toothbrush using small circular movements rather than aggressive side-to-side strokes.

  • If you think you grind your teeth at night, talk to us about having a mouth guard made to avoid chips and tooth wear.

  • Avoid consuming foods that are too hot or too cold.

  • Others : High concentration fluoride applications & use of a product called Toothmousse have also shown to reduce symptoms considerably. Contact your dentist to know more about Toothmousse.

  • Lastly, visit your dentist to correctly detect the cause of your sensitivity. It could just be a simple cavity, or a more serious issue, both of which require attention by a dental professional.

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