Many people sometimes suffer from sensitive teeth when eating or drinking hot or cold food and drinks, when cold air hits their teeth, or maybe when they consume something sweet or acidic.
Sensitivity often occurs when the hard outer cover of the tooth, the enamel, has worn away, exposing the softer dentine underneath.
This can be caused by:
Toothbrush abrasion - brushing too hard, can cause enamel to be worn away. The freshly exposed dentine may then become sensitive.
Dental erosion - a major cause of which is consuming too many acidic drinks. Loss of tooth enamel caused by attacks of acid from acidic food and drinks. When enamel is worn away and the dentine is exposed this may lead to sensitivity.
Gum recession - gums may naturally recede, and the roots will become exposed which leads to sensitivity of exposed area of the root surfaces which do not have an enamel layer to protect them. Receding gum can be due to build up plaque and tartar which causes gum disease and loss of the bony support of the teeth.
Tooth grinding – can be another case of tooth sensitivity, this is a habit which involves clenching and grinding the teeth together. This can cause the enamel of the teeth to be worn away, making the teeth sensitive.
A cracked tooth or filling - a crack can extend to towards the root of the tooth and make the tooth sensitive to extreme temperatures, especially to cold.
If you have problems with sensitive teeth, please discuss it with the dentist so we can offer help. It is our job to identify the cause of your sensitivity. We will examine your teeth and ask you about your oral habits and the pain you are experiencing. This might include treating the affected teeth with special de-sensitising products, such as fluoride gels, rinses, mousses or varnishes. You can also use toothpaste for sensitive teeth – this works best if you leave it on your teeth after brushing, rather than rinsing.
How to prevent sensitivity
Brush your teeth with soft- bristled toothbrush twice a day for two minutes, use small circular movements and avoid brushing side to side.
Reduce consumption of sugary and acid food and drink. Avid fizzy drinks or try to have them only at mealtimes.
If you grind your teeth, discuss this with your dentist who may advise to have a custom fitted mouth guard to wear at night.
Most causes are easy to treat so don’t suffer in silence.