We all love a cold ice cream on a hot day, and we certainly all enjoy a nice hot drink to keep us going! But for some, these treats or beverages can cause pain to our teeth.
Does this sound like you?
This could mean that you are suffering from sensitive teeth. Whether it’s a shooting pain when you sip on your iced latte, or a twinge when you drink a cup of warm tea, or even experiencing a mild discomfort when biting into an apple, this article is for you!
A healthy set of teeth have a layer of enamel that cover and help protect the crowns of your teeth – this is the part that sits above the gum line. Beneath this gum line, is a layer called the cementum which actually protects the root of the tooth. Further beneath the enamel and cementum is dentin.
Dentin is less known of, some parts of the tooth contain tiny little hollow tubes or canals (microscopic tubules). If a dentin were to lose its protective covering of enamel or cementum, then these tubules will allow hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and the cells inside the tooth. You may find as well that when gums recede, dentin can be exposed then too – which can then result in hypersensitivity.
We have looked at some of the main reasons why your teeth might be hypersensitive. In this case, what you can do about it? How you can prevent it happening in the future?
Overzealous tooth brushing
One of the main reasons why people get sensitive teeth, is because they are too harsh when brushing. When the brushing is too rough, you will simply wear down the protective layer of enamel and the tooth will become exposed.
Old cracked fillings and broken teeth will expose the dentine of your tooth and make it hypersensitive.
To prevent tooth decay, you need to maintain a good oral hygiene. All day, every day. If you suspect you might have a broken tooth, or an old filling that needs replaced you should book an appointment with your dentist and get it checked before it starts to hurt.
If you’ve sensitive teeth, then you might be a grinder.
When you grind your teeth, the friction will wear down the enamel. As the tooth is left uncovered by enamel, its sensitivity is extremely enhanced.
Very often, a simple night guard made of rubber to protect your teeth is enough to keep the wearing down of the teeth at a bare minimum.
If you’re a lover of all things sweet and fizzy, then you might want to reconsider your liquid intake. The high acidity of fizzy juice, energy drinks and many fruit juices, can quickly wear down the protective enamel. No enamel means no protection;no protection means very sensitive teeth.
We know it doesn’t exactly bring the best taste in Coca Cola if you drink a glass right after having brushed your teeth. It is however a good idea, if you must, to drink your fizzy juice with clean teeth.
Another trick is drinking through a straw. When you drink through a straw you minimise the contact that the fizzy juice has with your teeth.
A buildup of plaque and tartar can be very harmful for your enamel. Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is often painless for a very long time as the damage is in the bones supporting the teeth.
Gingivitis will often show in terms of red and swollen gums that will bleed when you brush or floss between your teeth.
If you’ve noticed enhanced sensitivity when flossing, brushing or biting into something, it’s worth getting it checked with your dentist.
The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated; you do not need to suffer in silence!
Your treatment choices all depend on what exactly is causing the sensitivity of your teeth. Of course, we will always recommend talking to your dentist to understand exactly what is causing your sensitive teeth and to find the best treatment that will suit your needs. However, some of these may be the right option for you.
Don’t worry, this is only viable in very severe cases! If your sensitivity is persistent and very severe, and you have tried other methods, then your dentist may recommend this to solve the problem. Applying a root canal treatment involves local anaesthetic and will clean your teeth and ensure that any left-over bacteria is cleaned out.
A crown, inlay or bonding.
All three of these options will help to correct and fix any flaw or any decay that is exposing the nerves of the teeth.
Certain toothpastes will contain certain compounds that help block the tooth nerves and help to reduce the amount of impact that any certain foods have on your teeth. Normally, even a good toothpaste for sensitive teeth that will solve sensitive teeth will take a good amount of applications before any solution is offered – so be patient!
Your dentist will be able to offer this option to help strengthen tooth enamel and will also help to reduce the amount of sensitivity of the user.
Surgical gum graft
If tooth sensitivity has been caused by a loss of gum in the mouth exposing the root, then this option will help to protect the root and to reduce sensitivity.
As mentioned earlier, you do not need to suffer sensitive teeth in silence! If you are ever in doubt, call your dentist for the best possible advice and the best solutions to the symptoms you are experiencing.