How to Help Sensitive Teeth
If a person experiences sharp pain while eating or drinking hot, cold, sour or sweet food/drinks, then in all probability, he/she may be suffering from sensitive teeth. Exposure of the tooth dentine to the oral cavity is the main reason behind tooth sensitivity. There are countless fine tubules in the dentine which are connected to the pulp. The nerve endings present in the pulp are, sometimes irritated by external stimuli which gives rise to sharp pain in the tooth.
Exposure of the Dentine
There are mainly 2 types of dentine exposure:
- Exposure of dentine at the root of the tooth: Root dentine of a tooth is covered by a layer of gum. If the gum starts receding, then the dentine is exposed.
- Exposure of the dentine at the crown of the tooth: The crown of the tooth is covered by enamel. If the enamel is damaged, then the dentine remains unprotected.
Reasons for Tooth Sensitivity
The major reasons for sensitive tooth are:
- Gingival recession or gum recession: It is most common among the aged population. When the gum tissue which surrounds the teeth pushes back or wears out, the root of the tooth is exposed.
- Beverages: Consuming large quantities of soft drinks and other acidic beverages is common among young adults. These sugary drinks have low pH which causes tooth demineralization. This leads to cervical tooth sensitivity.
- Bulimia: It is a common ailment among people, mainly, young girls and women caused by the habit of binge eating followed by purging. This is unpopularly considered as a measure to control or reduce weight and includes vomiting, often, numerous times a day. Vomit reduces the pH level in the mouth, thereby resulting in tooth sensitivity.
- Sugar: Apart from sugary beverages, people consume sugar-based products like chewing gum, breath candies, tobacco gums and the like. The sugar, along with oral debris cause tooth demineralization, caries and therefore, sensitivity.
- Pyrophosphates: Toothpastes which are meant for controlling tartar might cause tooth sensitivity. When the problem of sensitive tooth persists, the dentist usually recommends avoiding all kinds of toothpastes for about 2 weeks. If there is any relief because of this elimination, then those toothpastes which contain pyrophosphates are recommended to avoid.
- Rigorous tooth brushing: There are people who brush their teeth quite abusively. They use hard bristles which aggravate the problem of tooth sensitivity.
Techniques for Elimination or Reduction of Tooth Sensitivity
- The first and foremost technique is to eliminate or reduce the factors which cause sensitivity like sugary drinks and food, maintain proper brushing habits and flossing, avoiding bulimic tendencies and conducting proper oral hygiene. It is unwise to go for clinical treatments if desensitization of tooth can be achieved without clinical procedures.
- Several types of tooth desensitizing toothpastes are available in the market. The concentration of chemicals in these toothpastes are low, making them suitable for sensitive teeth. They are often available without prescriptions as well.
- Combating tooth sensitivity can also be achieved by using highly fluoridated dentifrices. This specially introduced dentifrice has 5000 parts per million of fluoride, more than normal over-the-counter toothpastes.
- The most common clinical procedure for treating tooth sensitivity is the use of dentine bonding agents. After anaesthetizing the affected tooth, a gingival retraction cord is used to prevent periodontal fluid flow. The tooth is then cleaned and the dentine bonding agent is placed which ultimately seals off dentinal canals.
Family Dentistry Toronto
Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common but complex tooth maladies. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is required to prevent tooth sensitivity. Talk with our Lawrence Avenue Dental team and we will answer all your questions so you can make the decision that’s right for you. Our office welcomes families of all ages. We are conveniently located at 1200 Lawrence Avenue in Toronto, just a short distance away from the DVP and Lawrence Avenue. Call us at 416.444.9045 to schedule your dental appointment or with any questions. Your visits make us smile!