Sensitive Teeth: Tips to Put it Behind You

If you have ever bit into hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and felt pain in your teeth, then you may have sensitive teeth. This is the result of the enamel that protects our teeth getting thinner which causes dentin to be exposed. Depending on how much dentin is exposed, the sensitivity can be mild, moderate, or severe. Needless to say, having sensitive teeth can be frustrating and take the fun out of our favourite foods when we want to enjoy them the most.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Teeth Grinding / Damaged Teeth – Chipped, damaged, or worn teeth from grinding can cause sensitivity by removing the enamel. Teeth grinding at night is a common habit that people often aren’t conscious that they are doing until it is too late. Not only does grinding remove the enamel, but it wears the tooth down, effectively changing its shape and size and making it more susceptible to sensitivity and other potential dental issues.

Gum Disease – Periodontal disease (gum disease) can cause sensitive teeth due to the build-up of tartar and plaque, which can destroy the soft tissue and bone that supports the tooth. As a result, the root surface is exposed.

Receding Gums – As we get older, our gums can recede exposing the lower parts of the tooth. These roots don’t have the same level of enamel protection that the crown of the tooth has. So, when we eat something with those acidic or sweet properties, our teeth can be extremely sensitive due to the proximity to the nerves in our mouths.

Food & Drink – Sweets, lollies, and fizzy drinks. The things we know that are bad for other parts of our bodies are just as bad for our teeth and gums. Consuming high amounts of sugary and acidic food and drinks on a regular basis harms our enamel. Whilst no dentist recommends having them, they know that patients will inevitably indulge themselves once in a while. Therefore, it’s important afterwards to reduce the acidity in the mouth to reduce the possibility of enamel erosion.

Whitening Toothpaste – Teeth whitening and bleaching are becoming more common practices but it is common to experience some short-term sensitivity because of using teeth whitening kits and whitening toothpaste.

Getting Diagnosed

The best step to finding out if you have sensitive teeth and ways to relieve sensitivity is to visit your dentist. Tell your dentist where the pain started, where it is located, and the symptoms you are feeling. Your dentist will investigate what is causing your sensitivity and look for issues such as receding gums, teeth grinding, or cavities.

Treating Sensitive Teeth

Fluoride Toothpaste – This type of toothpaste will reduce the transmission of sensations and strengthen the enamel. If you are making a visit to your dentist, they may apply a fluoride gel to sensitive areas of your teeth during your visit.

Bonding Resin – A bonded resin can sometimes be used by your dentist as a way to reduce sensitivity when you have an exposed root.

Desensitising Toothpaste – These types of toothpaste are also available off the shelf, which helps relieve sensitive teeth. It goes without saying that you should also be brushing your teeth twice a day.

Surgical gum graft – To reduce sensitivity and protect exposed roots, gum tissue from other areas of your mouth can be taken and attached to the root of a tooth that has a lot of gum tissue missing.

Root canal – Your dentist may recommend a root canal if the sensitivity cannot be treated in another way, and you are also feeling consistent and severe pain alongside the sensitivity.

Future Prevention

Here are some tips that can help prevent sensitive teeth:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Change your toothbrush as soon as it has become worn, which is usually every two to three months.
  • Avoid acidic drinks and food.
  • Clean all the parts of your mouth, including your gums.
  • Floss daily.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.