Tooth sensitivity may often be triggered by eating something hot, cold, sweet, sticky or acidic.
If your teeth are sensitive you may be avoiding hot coffee and not having cold tap water or cold drinks and foods directly from the fridge - not to mention completely avoiding ice-cream. Eating citrus fruits, tomato sauce, pickles and chocolate may cause you to wince in sudden pain. You may also be brushing and flossing your teeth very carefully and rinsing your mouth with only warm tap water.
Sensitive teeth impact millions of people around the world, just like this, each day. The suddenness of these sensations can be quite disconcerting and there may be a number of potential causes.
Why Do Teeth Become Sensitive?
In healthy teeth, an outer layer of enamel protects the tooth crown (what we see as the tooth) above the gum line. Below the gums, a mineralised layer called cementum covers and protects the tooth root. Beneath both the enamel and cementum, the next or second layer of the tooth is made up of a less dense material called dentine. Tooth dentine consists of minute hollow channels, dentinal tubules, that lead to the tooth nerve, called the pulp, which lies in the centre of the tooth.
Teeth may become sensitive when the dentine layer of the tooth becomes exposed. When dentine losses its protective cover, either the enamel or the cementum, dentinal tubules can become open. Triggers such as heat, cold or acidic and sticky foods can irritate dentinal tubules and stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth, resulting in hypersensitivity.
Causes Of Tooth Sensitivity
Hypersensitivity can occur when dentine tubules are exposed with:
Gum Shrinkage - Recession/shrinkage of gums can result from gum inflammation and gum disease, prolonged trauma from teeth clenching habits or with the over brushing of teeth (using an aggressive technique or hard toothbrush) uncovering tooth root surfaces. When the protective cementum layer which covers the root surface gets worn away with brushing or trauma, the root dentine tubules become exposed.
Tooth Wear - Loss of tooth enamel or root cementum can occur with ongoing clenching and grinding habits, acid erosion from gastric reflux or vomiting, dietary choices (such as acidic beverages or foods) and the habit of brushing of teeth directly after the enamel has been softened by dietary or gastric acids,
Cracks in Teeth
Treatments for Sensitive Teeth
You do not need to 'put up with' tooth sensitivity. Many advanced and effective treatments are available to relieve tooth sensitivity quickly.
If you have tooth sensitivity we recommend your symptoms be assessed promptly. Only accurate professional diagnosis and appropriate management can address both the symptoms, and causes of tooth sensitivity so you experience reliable relief, and so further preventable or more complex issues may be avoided.
At Melbourne Dentistry we can address your tooth sensitivity issues today!