What is tooth sensitivity ?
Tooth sensitivity usually occurs when exposed dentin, a tooth tissue located above the pulp with nerve fibers, as a result of thinning of the enamel or recession (omission) of the gums. The occurrence of pain in one or more teeth is caused by thermal irritants or when eaten sour or sweet. Usually the pain is short-lived.
Dentin is penetrated by many tiny holes or tubules extending from the surface of the tooth to the center with nerve fibers. When dentin is exposed, temperature stimuli or certain foods affect these tubules. Take a look at the image of the dentinal tubules under the microscope:
To identify the causes of increased tooth sensitivity, it is necessary to consult a dentist. It can detect signs of dentin exposure and analyze, resulting in sensitivity. Sometimes sensitivity increases with tooth decay or periodontitis – then treatment of these diseases is necessary to eliminate sensitivity. In other cases, the cause of tooth sensitivity may be erosion or abrasion of enamel or recession (omission) of the gums, entailing exposure of the root of the tooth.
What to do?
If tooth decay is the cause of sensitivity, it must be treated. If the cause is gum disease, the dentist or hygienist will conduct professional oral hygiene.
However, if hypersensitivity is caused by exposure of dentin, you may be shown a series of professional procedures and home care products to reduce tooth sensitivity.
Professional procedures in the dentist’s office:
- Coating exposed teeth with fluoride varnish to strengthen enamel and dentin
- A special mouthguard is filled with a fluorine-containing solution or gel, which the patient holds in the oral cavity for 3-5 minutes, during this time the teeth are saturated with fluorine, which strengthens the teeth.
- The composite material used to recreate the natural color of the teeth can be used to seal the surface of the dentin, thereby creating a barrier to irritants
- Use a very soft toothbrush, as well as a paste with reduced abrasiveness
- Use the correct brushing technique to avoid excessive pressure.
- It is recommended to use a toothpaste specially formulated to lower the sensitivity of nerve endings.
- Use high fluoride (prescription) toothpaste for daily use and strengthen teeth
4 ways to reduce tooth sensitivity
- Switch to desensitizing toothpaste. These special toothpastes contain ingredients that reduce sensitivity by filling the channels in the dentin. Squeeze some toothpaste onto your finger or cotton swab and spread it over the surface of the sensitive spots. Do not flush. It is better to do this before bedtime. Within a few weeks, relief should come.
- Try fluoride rinse aid. It will help reduce tooth sensitivity. Rinse aid can be used once a day. For more serious cases, a fluoride gel is used.
- Keep your teeth clean. Plaque produces acid that irritates teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably immediately after eating, and especially before bedtime, and flossing at least once a day.
- Use a soft toothbrush. Often, people press the toothbrush too hard when brushing or use a stiff bristle brush that can damage the tooth’s enamel. Using a brush with soft bristles you will act on your teeth very delicately (in fact, a light touch allows the bristles to move more freely and do their work more efficiently than when you push too hard).
When to see a dentist about tooth sensitivity?
Although you can often treat tooth sensitivity yourself, consult your dentist if:
- Teeth stubbornly continue to respond to compression;
- One tooth remains sensitive, which may mean that its tissue is subject to rot;
- Sensitivity does not decrease after two weeks of using desensitizing toothpaste;
- You have a toothache that lasts more than an hour;
- The gums around the sensitive tooth have changed color;
- You have any obvious signs of rotting.
There are several ways to treat tooth hypersensitivity, and the dentist will help determine the optimal one for you. Always consult your dentist – never try to make a diagnosis yourself. Hypersensitivity of teeth can be a symptom of a more serious disease, and only a dentist can determine its true causes.
This article is intended to enhance knowledge and understanding of the general issues of oral hygiene. The article does not replace professional medical advice of a specialist, cannot be used to make a decision on the diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a dentist or other qualified professional on all issues regarding your health status and treatment prescribed.