Teeth Sensitivity And What You Can Do About It
As soon as you have something hot, cold, sweet or sour, do you experience a sharp and sudden pain that hits the nerve endings of your teeth?
If the answer to the above question is yes, you are one of the 40 million people in the United States who suffer from tooth sensitivity. People describe the pain of sensitivity in several ways. It feels like a stabbing pain like a nail is running down. It also resembles being stabbed by needles in the teeth. All of them agree on one thing, that tooth sensitivity is a very unpleasant feeling.
According to statistics, everyone out of eight Americans suffers from dentinal hypersensitivity, also known as tooth sensitivity. Teeth sensitivity also affects several other activities like brushing, eating, and drinking, as it may cause temporary but intense pain in your teeth.
If you avoid having hot or cold food or drinks because your teeth may hurt, its a sign that you need to consult with your dentist. You might be having teeth sensitivity and not getting proper treatment, and consuming other food items such as sweets and chocolates can worsen the condition.
What is Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity or sensitive teeth is also known as Dentin Hypersensitivity. It is described as discomfort or pain as a reaction to particular stimuli such as cold or hot temperatures. Tooth sensitivity can be a temporary or life-long condition that can affect a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all the teeth of the same person.
A sensitive tooth is a result of uncovering the inner layer of the tooth called dentin. Generally, each tooth is covered with a hard outer layer known as enamel, or cementum, which protects the soft inner layer of the tooth called dentin. The role of the enamel is to protect the crown or the visible part of the teeth, above the gum. The cementum covers the dentin around the root of the tooth where the tooth advances into the jaw bone.
When the enamel or cementum wears or the gum line starts to recede, it exposes the dentin. Other conditions that expose dentin are cavities, root erosion, or broken teeth. The dentin is connected to the nerve that initiates pain in the tooth that is sensitive.
When we look at the structure of dentin, it consists of thousands of microscopic channels directed to the tooth pulp. Consuming something hot or cold when the dentin is exposed, these channels or tubules allow the hot or cold substance to reach the nerves in the tooth. This results in a sudden sharp pain that causes a lot of discomfort. And this pain is only a kind of response by the nerves inside the teeth.
Causes Of Tooth Sensitivity
If you have developed teeth sensitivity, it could be due to any of the following reasons:
Brushing Too Hard
When you apply a lot of pressure while brushing your teeth or use a poor-quality toothbrush with stiff bristles, it results in tooth sensitivity. It happens because of the wearing down of the tooth enamel leading to the exposure of the soft inner layer or the dentin. Brushing too hard can also cause recession of gums, in which the gum tissue gets drawn away from the teeth.
Gum recession is the moving of the gum tissue away from the tooth. It happens over time due to brushing too hard or periodontal diseases. The recession of the gums makes the surface of the root exposed, leading to tooth sensitivity.
Any gum disease leads to inflammation in the gum tissue. Due to this, there is a loss of supporting ligaments at the tooth root. When this happens, the roots are exposed, and when you consume something hot or cold, it gets in direct contact with the tooth nerve. Gum disease is one of the most common causes of sensitivity in teeth.
A cracked tooth or chipped tooth may be due to damage or trauma. When proper oral hygiene is not maintained, plaque build-up over the chipped tooth. The bacteria from the plaque enter the pulp of the tooth and cause inflammation. Due to this, your teeth may become sensitive.
Teeth Whitening Products
Using teeth whitening products such as baking soda or toothpaste with peroxide contributes to teeth sensitivity. It happens because, during the whitening procedure, the teeth are exposed to demineralization. Due to this, the dentinal tubules or channels in the tooth become more sensitive and cause sensitivity.
Bruxism is when a person grinds their teeth while not eating or chewing anything. It may occur during sleep, but it can also happen when a person is awake. When someone grinds their teeth, they are not aware of it. Clenching and grinding your teeth too hard results in the wearing down of enamel over time. Enamel is the hard outer layer that protects the teeth. When the enamel is eroded, the inner dentin is exposed. This leads to tooth sensitivity.
Age is an influential factor that causes teeth sensitivity. Several adults experience that their teeth get sensitive over time. Teeth sensitivity is observed to be the highest between the age of 25-30 years. Its because of the wearing down of enamel. However, it can be treated with proper care and dental treatments.
Poor Dental Hygiene
When you dont brush your teeth properly, it results in the building up of a sticky film over the teeth. This layer is known as plaque. When the plaque builds up on the root surface of a tooth, the bacteria from the plaque penetrates the inner soft layer of the tooth, causing sensitivity.
Using Acidic Mouthwashes
Some over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses contain acids that can contribute to tooth sensitivity over time. If any of your teeth has an exposed dentin surface, using such mouthwashes with acids may further worsen your sensitivity. If you want to use a mouthwash, consult your dentist and go for a neutral fluoride solution.
In the long term, the consumption of food items with high acid content can cause damage to the tooth enamel. So, limiting the consumption of citrus fruits, pickles, tomatoes, tea, and coffee is essential to protect your teeth. You can also rinse and clean your teeth after having such food items.
Sensitivity in teeth can also occur after you undergo dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, crown placement, root planning, etc. However, sensitivity due to dental procedures isn't permanent, and it goes away in 1-2 months.
Preventing Tooth Sensitivity
If you are at the initial stage of developing sensitive teeth, you prevent it from affecting you further. Here are some ways through which you can stop the erosion of your teeth enamel and prevent sensitivity:
Stop Brushing Too Hard
Applying extra pressure while brushing your teeth doesnt mean that your teeth will be super clean. In fact, you might be damaging your teeth. Brushing at the gum line can lead to wearing down of your tooth enamel. Hence, make sure that you always use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth and function at a 45-degree angle instead of side-to-side brushing. It will keep your gums clean and enamel strong.
Dont Consume Acidic Foods
Food items and drinks such as sticky candy, soda, and tea have high acidic content that results in the corrosion of the tooth enamel. So, instead of consuming high sugar and carbs items, you can have fruits and vegetables rich in fiber, milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. Such food items not only keep your mouth hydrated but also helps you in getting rid of the bacteria that damage your teeth. You can also have green or black tea and chew sugar-free gums. It helps in the production of saliva that washes away harmful germs. Even if you consume something acidic, dont brush instantly. Wait for at least an hour before you clean your teeth.
Unclench Your Teeth
Teeth clenching and grinding wear away the tooth enamel.
If you are going through some stress, getting some help will stop the problem. Else, your dentist may also fit a mouth guard to stop clenching. In case when the problem is intense, the dentist may suggest repositioning of teeth.
Dont Bleach Your Teeth For A While
Teeth whitening procedures result in insensitivity. But the condition is temporary and may last for up to a few weeks. So if you have sensitive teeth, consult with your dentist and consider taking a break from the teeth whitening routine.
If teeth sensitivity troubles you, it might be time to visit your dentist. Depending on your oral health, your dentist will suggest any of the following solutions:
On your next dental visit, your dentist may apply a layer of fluoride to the sensitive areas of your teeth. It toughens the tooth enamel and relieves pain and discomfort. Your dentist may also suggest your work with a prescription fluoride tray at home. If youre in New Jersey and you wish to get your fluoride done at a dental clinic, consult and visit NJ Top Dentist.
Toothpaste For Sensitivity
Desensitizing toothpaste, when applied several times, provides relief from pain and discomfort due to sensitivity. Such kinds of toothpaste contain special ingredients that block the tubules and prevent the pain-causing nerves from triggering. Several kinds of toothpaste are available in the market. However, it is always best to ask your dentist about what will suit you.
Tooth sensitivity caused by exposure to roots can be treated by bonding. In this process, the exposed surface is treated by the application of bonding material or resin. In this process, the dentist may use a local anesthetic.
It is considered one of the most successful procedures to treat tooth sensitivity. In cases when sensitive teeth cause intense pain and no other solution relieves the discomfort, your dentist might suggest undergoing a root canal. Its a process that treats the soft inner layer of the tooth, or the dental pulp.
Losing gum tissue exposes the tooth, resulting in insensitivity. In such a case, your dentist may suggest gum grafting surgery. In this process, a small volume of gum tissue is taken from anywhere else and then attached to the affected area. It covers the exposed tooth roots and decreases sensitivity.
Best Dental Care Clinic In New Jersey
If you have undergone a teeth whitening procedure, the sensitivity in the teeth might be temporary. It may take up to two months for such sensitivity to heal completely. Apart from that, teeth sensitivity isnt a condition you should overlook. If not treated on time, it can worsen and affect your daily life. Due to pain and discomfort, you wont be able to eat and drink hot or cold, sweet, or acidic food items. Even small temperature variations may make your teeth vulnerable and cause a sensation. Hence, it is essential to consult with your dental professional, or emergency dentist in New Jersey, if you have been experiencing tooth sensitivity for a while. If you feel discomfort or pain in your teeth, and you are looking for a top rated dentist in New Jersey, visit us at Jackson Dental.
At Jackson Dental, we make sure that you feel comfortable. Our highly experienced professionals thoroughly monitor your dental health to determine the root cause of your problem. We also provide a customized treatment plan to reverse the damage and prevent it in the future. At Jackson Dental, our team understands that dental appointments may cause anxiety. We talk you through the whole process and assist you at every step so that dental appointments dont feel overwhelming. Whether you have just started experiencing the symptoms or it has been a few weeks, we recommend you to consult with us so that your oral health stays great. From your routine dental consultation to getting teeth whitening procedures and from getting braces to affordable & cheap dentures in New Jersey, we are a one-stop solution for your ultimate dental care.
Whether its due to age, or improper dental hygiene, teeth sensitivity is a very common condition that affects millions of people every year. And thats completely normal. Through proper care and preventive measures, teeth sensitivity can be cured and stopped from worsening further. However, as soon as one starts experiencing the symptoms, it is essential to address the problem and visit a dentist.
Dont let tooth sensitivity stop you from having your favorite food items. Visit the best dentist in New Jersey. Book your appointment with us today!