Sensitivity in the teeth is a common problem that many people struggle with. For some, extremely hot or cold drinks and foods creates a lot of discomfort and pain, making eating and drinking a lot harder to do.
Tooth sensitivity happens when nerves are exposed. Normally, your teeth should have a protective layer of enamel covering the outside, but this layer can wear away over time. Under the enamel is the inner layer, called dentin, which is what causes the uncomfortable sensitivity. There are several reasons why tooth enamel can weaken:
- Poor dental hygiene and brushing too hard: Incorrect brushing practice, or brushing too hard, is unfortunately very common and can cause tooth enamel to be worn away. This is also called ‘toothbrush abrasion'. Individuals should always brush in circles, instead of side to side.
- Dental erosion: When you drink extremely acidic foods and drinks, this can cause the loss of tooth enamel, exposing the dentine layer underneath.
- Receding gums and gum disease: Gums may naturally recede (shrink back), and the roots of the teeth will become exposed and can be more sensitive. Root surfaces do not have an enamel layer to protect them. This could happen naturally, or by a build-up of tartar, causing gums to recede down to the tooth and sometimes even destroying the bony support of the tooth. Gum disease could also cause pockets to form around the tooth, which will make brushing and cleaning very difficult.
- Tooth grinding and Bruxism: This is a habit that affects many people, and occurs when teeth are forcibly clenched and ground together. For some people, teeth grinding can be less serious, but for the unlucky ones, it can lead to a severe variation, known as Bruxism. When a patient grinds their teeth, this causes the enamel to be worn away which will likely make the teeth sensitive.
- Having a cracked tooth or filling: When a tooth becomes cracked or even broken, this is likely to cause sensitivity. Similarly, if your filling falls out or breaks in any way, this will create an opening into the tooth that will cause significant sensitivity.
- Teeth whitening treatments: With all of the over-the-counter whitening treatments you can find, some can be very dangerous and cause damage to your teeth. If you are interested in teeth whitening the best thing to do is talk to your dentist, and they will be able to advise you on the ideal treatment plan. Even with advised treatment from your dentist, you could still experience some sensitivity. Talk to your dentist if the sensitivity persists and gets worse.
One of the ways you can help your teeth sensitivity from home is using desensitizing toothpaste. These types of toothpaste work to ease tooth sensitivity by blocking the tubules in the dentin and protecting the nerves in the tooth from exposure. In a sense, desensitising toothpaste also numbs your teeth and nerves, so that you do not register the pain from sensitivity.
The best thing to do first is to go see your dentist. They will be able to examine your teeth and make sure there aren’t any other more serious issues that you are facing. Your dentist will also be able to advise you on what desensitizing toothpaste you should use.
Every person is different. For some tooth sensitivity could be mild, whereas for others it could cause severe pain. But there are some things you can try, to help prevent more serious tooth sensitivity.
- Make sure you brush often, and properly: We cannot stress this enough, by brushing your teeth regularly, without extreme force and avoiding a side-to-side motion, you are more likely to keep your teeth and enamel healthy. Good oral hygiene will also help prevent more serious problems such as gum disease, tooth decay and enamel erosion.
- Get rid of bad habits: Unhealthy habits such as smoking and too much alcohol will contribute to poor oral health. By eliminating or at least reducing these bad habits, your teeth are more likely to stay strong, without serious issues.
- Protect your teeth and avoid grinding: Some people will struggle to kick the habit of teeth grinding, but reducing the amount of pressure you are putting on your teeth will help keep them healthier in the long run. Contact your dentist about getting and wearing a mouthguard in the nighttime to help protect your teeth while you sleep.
- Manage a healthy diet: Foods and drinks that have larger amounts of sugar and carbohydrates are more likely to cause tooth decay and cavities, so eat your yummy treats in moderation. Drinking water consistently throughout the day will also help remove bacteria and any food that is stuck in your teeth after meals and snacks. Focus on foods that are high in calcium and other vitamins, such as dairy products and vegetables.
Tooth pain and sensitivity can affect anyone and no one should have to suffer through it. If you have tooth discomfort and sensitivity, make sure to book a check-up and get your teeth checked out. At Harley Street, we have over 30 years of experience and offer a high level of care. If you are wanting to improve your smile, our team of specialists will be able to create a unique treatment plan that suits your needs and your teeth. To find out more about the services we offer, contact our team today.
Specialist orthodontists are dentists who have more training and experience providing orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign. Patients that receive orthodontics from a specialist find that their treatment is of higher quality, they finish treatment much sooner, and the level of care they receive is much higher.
Do you wish you had straighter teeth? If so, send a WhatsApp message by clicking here or complete the contact form below to arrange a free online consultation with our orthodontist and learn more about what we can do for you.