The discomfort that tooth sensitivity brings can make a person easily assume that he or she has a serious dental problem that requires complicated dental procedures. While that may be the case, a sensitive tooth does not necessarily equate to a serious dental concern, as tooth sensitivity may very well be a symptom for a mild dental problem that can easily be prevented.
This is Dentistry will give you the tooth sensitivity information you have long been searching for, so you will know what to expect, and how to deal with sensitive teeth. This is Dentistry also gives you access to a comprehensive dentist directory, where you can get the contact details of an expert dentist in your local area who can help you deal with the tooth sensitivity issues that can cause great discomfort on a regular basis.
Sensitive Teeth Topics on This Page
- The Science of Sensitive Teeth
- Sensitive Teeth Symptoms
- Causes of Sensitive Teeth
- Sensitive Teeth Prevention
- Treatments for Sensitive Teeth
- How to Treat Sensitive Teeth (Video)
- Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth
- Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
The Science of Sensitive Teeth
Why does one experience sensitive teeth? The sensitivity or discomfort on teeth results when the nerves are irritated; this in turn occurs when there is fluid movement within the small tubes that are located in the dentine (the tissue layer underneath the tooth enamel that contains the sensitive inner pulp). As the gums recede, or when the tooth enamel gets worn down, the surfaces of the small tubes are exposed – causing extreme sensitivity or pain when the teeth are exposed to changes in temperature (such as eating a hot or a cold beverage).
Sensitive Teeth Symptoms
The most common symptoms of sensitive are pain and discomfort, when the affected teeth are exposed to cold and hot temperatures (such as extremely hot or cold food and beverages). Teeth that have become sensitive may also experience pain when cold air is inhaled through the mouth, and when biting on hard food or surfaces. When tooth sensitivity is present, the affected tooth may also be painful when it is touched accidentally or during tooth brushing; sensitivity can also lead to pain when biting on sweet food items.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by any of the following factors or conditions:
Tooth Decay or Cavities – When teeth get decayed, and the tooth enamel is damaged, the sensitive inner pulp gets exposed resulting to teeth that experience sensitivity and discomfort with the slightest change in temperature.
Fractured or Broken Teeth – A break or fracture on the surface of a tooth can cause the sensitive inner part to be exposed, in which case the affected tooth will most likely experience extreme sensitivity with temperature changes.
Vigorous Tooth Brushing – Too-hard tooth brushing techniques can cause the enamel to get worn easily over the passage of time; the worn enamel causes the inner part of the tooth (dentine) to be exposed – and the affected teeth to become prone to sensitivity.
Teeth Grinding – Excessive and constant teeth grinding can result to tooth enamel erosion, which in turn exposes the tooth’s sensitive dentine part and causes the sensitivity in teeth.
Gum Problems – Swollen gums can suffer the loss of supporting tissue, and can result to the exposure of the root surface of the teeth that directly leads to the tooth’s roots; the exposure of these roots cause the discomfort and pain associated with tooth sensitivity.
Teeth Whitening – Teeth whitening solutions may contribute to the teeth developing extreme sensitivity; harsher or stronger formulations used in teeth whitening treatments may even hasten the erosion of the tooth enamel especially if used for long periods of time.
Dental Treatments – Orthodontics treatments and root canal procedures can add to the development of sensitive problems as well.
Acidic Food/Beverage Consumption – High levels of acid on food and beverages can cause the tooth enamel to be worn down faster – and can lead to sensitive teeth problems.
Prevention of Sensitive Teeth
There are various ways to prevent sensitive teeth, which will also be beneficial in relieving tooth sensitivity symptoms:
- Maintain good oral hygiene by proper tooth brushing techniques, using dental floss, and going for regular dental checkups. The dentist will be able to check for the earliest signs of dental problems which may lead to teeth sensitivity, and can provide the appropriate treatment so that the problem does not progress further.
- Brush teeth with gentle but firm strokes; a too-vigorous tooth brushing technique can lead to the premature erosion or wearing down of the tooth enamel, causing the teeth to become sensitive. Using a tooth brush with soft bristles can also protect your teeth enamel from being worn away or from being eroded.
- If you suffer from unconscious or uncontrollable teeth grinding (especially when you sleep during the nighttime), you can ask your dentist about wearing a mouth guard to prevent the teeth from coming into contact with one another.
- Avoid excessive consumption of food and beverages that have high acidity levels, as these can hasten the erosion of teeth enamel and can contribute to the development of sensitive teeth problems.
Sensitive Teeth Treatments
Use Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth – Desensitising toothpaste, or toothpaste for sensitive teeth, can help alleviate the discomfort cause by tooth sensitivity. These products work by blocking the pathway of sensations from the teeth surfaces to the nerves, so that discomfort will be eliminated or at least, greatly minimised.
Fluoride Use – Fluoridated dental products, such as a fluoride-fortified toothpaste and mouthwash, can minimise the discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity. Fluoride gel can also be applied by the dentist on the affected teeth using an in-office treatment to reduce the pain and discomfort.
Dental Sealant – Dental sealant can be used by the dentist to cover (and protect) the exposed parts of the tooth root, in cases when receding gums are the cause of sensitivity.
Treatments for Tooth Decay or Damage – Dental treatments such as the use of dental crowns, dental inlays, and dental bonding can be used to repair damaged/decayed teeth (which may be causing the teeth sensitivity).
Gum Graft – A surgical gum grafting procedure may be done to reduce sensitivity problems in cases when gum tissue has been lost from the root area; this procedure will also work to protect the tooth root.
Root Canal – A root canal treatment is needed when other dental treatments are not effective in alleviating the symptoms of pain and discomfort. The root canal can permanently eliminate the sensitivity problem.
How to Treat Sensitive Teeth
Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth
The use of toothpaste and other dental products specifically formulated for sensitive teeth relief can significantly alleviate the pain and discomfort tooth sensitivity. These products can be used while brushing the teeth (or afterwards, in the case of mouthwash products); desensitising toothpastes can also be spread on the affected teeth and allowed to stay there overnight to get long-lasting relief.
Fluoride rinses, which can be given by dentists or can be bought over the counter in pharmacies, can help reduce the pain and discomfort of sensitive teeth (especially symptoms that are caused by tooth decay). The rinse is used once a day as a gargle, to be spit out afterwards.
Natural home remedies for tooth sensitivity can also go a long way in relieving sensitivity symptoms. Echinacea can be mixed with a small amount of juice and half a teaspoon of powdered vitamin C to fight the bacteria that may be contributing to sensitive teeth problems. Aloe vera gel, when applied to the affected area, can reduce inflammation and pain. Sage or thyme tea both have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that can ease the pain and discomfort brought by teeth sensitivity.
The home remedies mentioned above are applicable only adults, and are not suitable for children. Tooth sensitivity treatments for the young ones should be supervised and administered by a dentist, to ensure complete safety and effectiveness.
Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief – This product range uses the Pro-Argin Technology, which works by sealing and plugging sensitive teeth’s dentine tubules to block the pain triggers from the surface to the nerves – resulting to immediate and long-lasting relief from tooth sensitivity. The Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief range includes the following products: Enamel Repair Toothpaste, Whitening Toothpaste, Mouthwash, and Multi-Protection Toothpaste.
Watch the interesting videos below about tooth sensitivity, and how Colgate’s Pro-Argin technology works in relieving sensitivity symptoms:
Sensodyne – Sensodyne toothpastes provide relief from sensitive teeth by: plugging the open holes formed on the dentine, calming the nerve (also called nerve depolarisation), or by the formation of a layer resembling the tooth over the exposed dentine. Sensodyne toothpaste options include:
- Sensodyne Original Relief – contains strontium chloride, which is clinically proven to relieve sensitive teeth pain when used twice a day.
- For Daily Repair: Sensodyne Repair & Protect (clinically proven to repair and protect sensitive teeth with twice daily washing using the NovaMin technology that works by forming a tooth-like layer on parts of the tooth where the dentine is exposed); Sensodyne Repair & Protect Whitening (daily protection and relief from sensitivity, with teeth whitening action); Sensodyne Repair & Protect Extra Fresh (tooth sensitivity relief and protection, with fresher breath).
- For Fast-Acting Relief: Sensodyne Rapid Relief works in 60 seconds; it is clinically proven to provide relief from sensitive teeth discomfort, creating a seal against the triggers of sensitivity.
- For 24/7 Care: Sensodyne Total Care Gel (provides daily protection without the SLS detergent); Sensodyne Total Care F Toothpaste (helps prevent cavities while treating sensitive teeth problems); Sensodyne Gentle Whitening (contains a low-abrasive formula to gently remove teeth stains); Sensodyne Gum Protection (keeps gums healthy while providing sensitive teeth protection); Sensodyne Extra Fresh Toothpaste (tooth sensitivity protection with an added freshness burst); Sensodyne Multi Action with iso-active Technology (a unique formula that transforms into a micro-fine foam during tooth brushing, to clean even hard-to-reach mouth areas); and Sensodyne Multi Whitening with iso-active Technology (thoroughly cleans the mouth while removing teeth stains).
- For Daily Enamel Protection: Sensodyne Pronamel Daily Toothpaste (daily toothpaste that helps protect the teeth against the effects of acid wear); Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening (protects against acid wear while removing teeth stains); Sensodyne Pronamel for Children (specially formulated for children, a daily fluoride toothpaste that helps protect teeth from acid wear).
Oral-B Pro-Expert Sensitive + Gentle Whitening – This product effectively protects against tooth sensitivity and enamel erosion by forming a protective shield on the surface of the teeth to work on acid resistance. It also prevents cavities, tartar buildup, plaque, and gum problems; freshens breath; and whitens the teeth by removing stains on tooth surface.
You can easily find a dentist in your local area for any sensitive teeth concerns here. If you need quick answers to urgent tooth sensitivity questions, or other dental problems and concerns, you can start by asking an online dentist.
Getting in touch with the NHS for any questions about sensitive teeth can easily be done 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – by calling NHS direct at 0845 4647.
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