Do you avoid eating something because it sends chills down your spine? Does eating cold desserts and drinking iced cold drinks make you shiver? You may have sensitive teeth.
What Is Dentin Hypersensitivity?
“Sensitive teeth” are medically known as dentin hypersensitivity. This dental condition is characterized by a sharp and short tooth-related pain. It is unrelated to other dental problems. The pain occurs not because of a dental disease, but in response to an external stimulus like air, temperature and touch. We all experience sensitive teeth once in a while, but it is not necessarily a condition. It only becomes a dental condition called dentin hypersensitivity when it already affects one’s daily activities or occurs every time one drinks cold water or eats acidic foods.
The most common cause of dentin hypersensitivity is receding gums. This occurs when the gums have been pulled away or worn away, which exposes the root surface of the tooth in the process. There are various factors as to why gums recede. These include teeth grinding, smoking, acid erosion, gum disease and bad brushing habits.
So why and how do receded gums lead to hypersensitivity? When the root surface is exposed, it affects the dentin, which is made of microscopic pores or tubes that go inward to the pulp of the teeth. An exposure to the dentin can change the flow of fluid inside the pores or tubes. This will then trigger the nerve receptor found inside the pulp and causes a pain response. Temperature and air are most likely to stimulate the dentin and cause the feeling of hypersensitivity.
Dealing With Sensitivities in Teeth
There are various ways to deal with the sensitivity. If the sensitivity is mild, there are over-the-counter treatments available. You can try tried and tested toothpaste that is designed for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes contain potassium nitrate, which protects the dentin from hypersensitivity. This ingredient blocks the nerve receptor from sending pain signals which eliminates the sensitivity. Fluoride also helps prevent sensitivity. However, if the sensitivity is severe, seek help from a dentist.
Dental Sensitivity and Your Dentist
The best way to deal with the sensitivity is to seek professional help, especially if the condition is severe and already affects your daily activities. With the help of the dentist, the exposed root surfaces will be covered in order to protect the inner parts of the teeth, such as the dentin, from any stimuli, eliminating pain reaction in the process. The surfaces can be covered with tooth-colored composite bondings.
Aside from this, the dentist may also do something about the factors that contributed to the gum recession. Certain things need to be modified in order to prevent further recession of the gums. For instance, if the cause is aggressive brushing, the dentist may recommend a soft toothbrush designed to prevent teeth sensitivity. The dentist may recommend other things like changing your toothpaste or requiring you to wear a mouth guard.It really depends on the dentist. The important thing is that you seek help so that your condition will be dealt with more competently and efficiently.
If you have sensitive teeth, make an appointment with EVDP. We have extensive experience dealing with sensitive teeth and can help find the right treatment for you.