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Tooth Sensitivity

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:

  1. Dental decay
  2. Worn enamel due to incorrect brushing, night grinding (bruxing), clenching etc.
  3. Using teeth whitening toothpastes
  4. Chipped/Fractured tooth
  5. Leaking or fractured fillings
  6. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Go easy on acidic food/drinks like sports drink, soft drink, fruit juices which can cause tooth erosion and worsen sensitivity.
  3. Consider quitting smoking as they can lead to gum disease.
  4. IF your toothpaste contains whitening agents, consider changing to one that doesn’t.
  5. 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:

  1. Special toothpaste for sensitive teeth
  2. Fluoride gel
  3. Repair or replacement of old restorations
  4. Fillings to cover root exposure
  5. A nightguard to manage bruxing/clenching (if any)

Remember to brush and floss twice a day and your 6 monthly dental check ups.

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