Have you been avoiding those hot or cold drinks or even an icecream/sweet because you know they are going to hurt your teeth? It may be time to discuss with your dentist about tooth/teeth sensitivity. The reason behind this could be many.
A healthy tooth has a protective layer called the enamel which protects the crown. The second layer is the dentin which contains tiny tubules. When the enamel wears, the dentin gets exposed allowing hot/cold sensations to travel through the tubules into the nerves triggering a sensitive reaction.
Some of the common causes of tooth sensitivity could be:
- Dental decay
- Worn enamel due to incorrect brushing, night grinding (bruxing), clenching etc.
- Using teeth whitening toothpastes
- Chipped/Fractured tooth
- Leaking or fractured fillings
- Gum disease and root exposure
Management of tooth sensitivity
Prevention is the key when it comes to managing tooth sensitivity. Here are some tips to avoid sensitivity:
- Proper brushing techniques. Scrubbing hard with a hard bristled toothbrush could wear away your protective enamel coating. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and work in a circular motion at a 45 degree angle to your gumline.
- Go easy on acidic food/drinks like sports drink, soft drink, fruit juices which can cause tooth erosion and worsen sensitivity.
- Consider quitting smoking as they can lead to gum disease.
- IF your toothpaste contains whitening agents, consider changing to one that doesn’t.
- Periodic dental visits to diagnose any issues before they can potentially become bigger problems.
Some of the things your dentist may suggest for management of sensitive teeth include:
- Special toothpaste for sensitive teeth
- Fluoride gel
- Repair or replacement of old restorations
- Fillings to cover root exposure
- A nightguard to manage bruxing/clenching (if any)
Remember to brush and floss twice a day and your 6 monthly dental check ups.