What are sensitive teeth?
They are pretty much just as they sound. Sensitive teeth can range anywhere from a severe pain for several hours to only a mild twinge. Occasionally sensitive teeth can be an early warning sign for further dental issues.
Who suffers from sensitive teeth?
Anyone can suffer from sensitive teeth and it can begin at any time. Having said that women are more prone than men and it is most commonly found in people aged between 20 and 40.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Your teeth and in particular the soft dentine of the tooth are protected by an outer layer of enamel. Sensitive teeth occurs when the enamel is worn down and the dentine is exposed some likely causes of sensitive teeth are:
- Abrasive brushing – brushing excessively hard, brushing from side to side or using some whitening toothpastes, can cause the enamel to be worn away, especially where the gums and teeth meet.
- Dental erosion– this is the exposure of the dentine from the consumption of acidic food and drinks.
- Gum recession– in some cases gums may recede and this can reveal the roots which do not have an enamel layer therefore leaving them exposed.
Image from gum disease handout.
- Gum disease– sensitivity can arise from the presence of plaque bacteria growing between the gum and tooth and slowly lodging the gums from the teeth.
Image from gum disease handout.
- Tooth grinding– persistent grinding and crunching of the teeth will wear down enamel quite quickly.
- Decay & cavities in your teeth
- Cracked teeth or fillings – a crack running through the tooth down to the root can provide a shortcut to the root making extreme temperatures such as eating ice cream as a very uncomfortable experience.
- Tooth bleaching– the initial time during and immediately after a tooth bleaching can be a short period of highly sensitive teeth.
When are teeth more likely to be sensitive?
Pain from sensitive teeth is most likely to strike when exposed to the extremes of temperature, sweetness and acidic foods/drink. The pain can come and go, with some times being worse than others.
Is there anything I can do to treat sensitive teeth at home?
You can use one of the toothpastes made to help ease the pain for sensitive teeth.
You should then use that toothpaste and brush with it twice a day. The key is to be patient with the toothpaste as its effect will differ with each person, for some it may take a few days and for others it could be as long as several weeks. We also have a special toothpaste available on prescription for stubborn sensitivity. You may have cracked or decayed teeth that are contributing to your sensitive teeth so it is important to see a dentist, if your sensitive teeth persist.
Is there anything I should avoid if I have sensitive teeth?
Hot, cold, sweet or acidic drinks such as orange juice or soft drinks.
Ice cream is the most common food that causes pain for those with sensitive teeth.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t eat ice cream anymore, you just need to be more cautious when eating it and perhaps eat it at a lower temperature.
For some the use of cold tap water is enough to set off their nerves so beware of the water you are using to brush your teeth.
Do I need to go and see my dentist?
If you have seen no improvement in treating your sensitive teeth, than it is advisable for you to see a dentist. You can make an appointment with us here by ringing the below number between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
01 834 1140
What treatments can we offer here at Duggan dentist?
We can prescribe special toothpaste for sensitive teeth check no decay or cracks causing the sensitivity. Possibly fill any worn away root surface or cracked teeth.
How can I prevent sensitive teeth?
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Use small circular movements with a soft to medium-bristled brush. Try to avoid brushing your teeth from side to side.
- Change your toothbrush every two to three months, or sooner if it becomes worn.
- Reduce the amount of sugary foods, and fizzy and acidic drinks in your diet. Try to have them only at mealtimes.
- If you grind your teeth, we can have you fit for a mouth guard here to be worn at night to prevent unconsciously grinding.
- If you want to have your teeth bleached then it would be advisable to discuss the sensitivity state of your teeth with a dentist before doing so.
- Attend regular dentist appointments.
Book an appointment today to have your sensitive teeth checked
01 834 1140