A huge portion of society suffers from some form of teeth or gum sensitivity. Teeth sensitivity causes pain and discomfort when the teeth or gums interact with certain substances or temperatures. This discomfort is usually sharp and sudden and only lasts for a few moments. It's been suggested that the pain shoots down into the nerve ending of the tooth causing that unexpected pang of pain. Thankfully this condition is very treatable and manageable. Here are a few ways teeth sensitivity can occur and remedies to alleviate it.
Sources of Sensitivity
There are no at-risk features when it comes to mouth sensitivity and it can happen to absolutely anyone. In healthy teeth, the enamel is protecting the dentin beneath it and the roots of the teeth are protected by the gums. If your enamel has been worn down, or you've experienced the gum line receding, the dentin can be exposed. Things such as cracked teeth, root erosion, and cavities can all cause dentin to be exposed. Dentin is linked to the nerve of your teeth and mouth that trigger pain in sensitive teeth.
Within the dentin are thousands of tiny tubules, like passages that lead to your the tooth's main pulp. When the dentin is exposed and worn down, the tubules can allow for varying temperatures, and acidity reach the nerves inside the tooth, causing that flash of awful pain.
Factors That Contribute to Sensitive Teeth
- Regularly grinding or clenching teeth can wear down enamel.
- Consuming acidic foods and beverages regularly can reduce enamel.
- Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with overly hard bristles. This can encourage gum recession and wearing down of the enamel.
- Dental procedures such as receiving a filling or crown replacement can cause sensitivity but this may fade in a matter of weeks.
- Using acidic mouth wash for a long period of time can harm your teeth's enamel by damaging the dentin layer and can worsen preexisting sensitivity. We suggest using an all-natural mouthwash that will guarantee no burn, and is safe to swallow. We love our Exhilarating Mint Mouthwash for exactly that reason.
- In-office teeth whitening usually contain harsh chemicals that remove stains, but they can also remove the enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity.
- Gingivitis and gum disease can cause teeth sensitivity because of inflamed and sore gums exposing the roots of the teeth.
Treatment For Sensitive Teeth
Although there isn't one solid cure for sensitive teeth, there are multiple treatments to dull the sensation and keep sensitivity at bay. Some treatments work better than others, from person to person. It's simply about finding the method that works best for you. It's important for your dentist to identify the reason for the sensitivity first in order to properly treat it. The resulting treatment they decide on will align with the reason for the sensitivity and will be more successful in decreasing discomfort and pain. Depending on the circumstances, your dentist may recommend one of the following.
- If you're a teeth grinder or clencher, you can begin to use a mouth guard during the times you grind or clench most often.
- Amending your diet to avoid highly acidic foods and beverages.
- Using a soft-bristled, gentle and natural, tooth brush.
- Your dentist may recommend using desensitizing toothpaste.
- Your dentist may recommend a desensitizing toothpaste. Try spreading a thin layer of the desensitizing toothpaste on the exposed tooth roots before bed.
- Bonding crowns or inlays is a dental procedure that can fix a tooth flaw or decay that is causing sensitivity.
- By use of a surgical gum graft. This helps to protect the root and reduce sensitivity if the gum tissue has eroded away from the root.
- Via root canal. Primarily a last-resort treatment for only the most severe tooth sensitivity that has not been helped by other methods.
There are a huge amount of us suffering from some degree of tooth sensitivity so feel free to share your story with us! We love hearing from you about your dental journeys and any helpful tips you've picked up along the way!