Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sensitive Teeth Causes & Treatment

A common problem experienced by many is known as "sensitive teeth". This uncomfortable sensation may be triggered by hot, cold, sweet, sour foods or drinks. It can make tasting your favorite ice cream, a refreshing cold drink or even breathing cold air become unbearable.

Cause of Sensitive Teeth

The most obvious causes of sensitive teeth are tooth decay and a fractured tooth or filling. Your dentist can easily diagnose this and give you treatment for it. If your dentist has ruled these sensitive teeth causes out, then exposed root surface could be the culprit, among others listed below, of sensitivity.

The outer layer of each tooth is called "enamel". This is a very strong substance and protects the tooth crown from sensitivity.

The root of each tooth is covered by a layer called "cementum". This layer is normally covered by your gum tissue.

Dentin is a softer layer located underneath enamel and cementum. Once dentin is exposed from wear of enamel or cementum, when hot or cold reaches this layer, you may feel sensitivity.

When you eat hot and cold or acidic or sticky foods, small tubes in dentin allow these sensations to reach the nerves inside the tooth, causing hypersensitivity.

The following are some of the factors that can lead to sensitive teeth:

  • Bleaching your teeth with over-the-counter products that are high in peroxide.


  • Grinding your teeth or clenching may wear down or fracture enamel and expose dentin.


  • Brushing too hard will eventually wear down enamel and cementum and even cause receding gums.


  • Abrasive toothpaste can also be a culprit to sensitive teeth.



  • Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

    Proper oral hygiene using a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste for sensitive teeth is the key to healthy teeth and gums. Treatment for sensitive teeth will vary depending on the cause.

    Your dentist may recommend placing a desensitizing 'bond' over the worn cementum or enamel. This may have to be repeated at regular intervals as it wears off.

    You may also be recommended to use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

    There are several toothpaste brands available for sensitive teeth. The most common active ingredient used is "potassium nitrate".

    Sensitive teeth toothpaste is not meant to repair the problem or even permanently reverse the sensitivity. Ingredients such as potassium nitrate can help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. However, this is a temporary band aid. Understanding the cause can prevent further damage.

    You should be aware of this and other ingredients used in these types of toothpaste.
    Other ingredients in toothpaste, including those for sensitive teeth may include sodium lauryl sulfate, saccharine, peroxide and FD&C coloring. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is an industrial detergent and may be problematic. Studies have reported this ingredient could cause outbreaks of canker sores in the mouth.

    A safe, non-abrasive toothpaste without SLS and other harsh ingredients is preferred. Mild toothpaste with xylitol and a soft toothbrush will help decrease sensitivity to your teeth.

    Your dentist can also 'seal' the worn cementum or enamel with a plastic tooth colored filling material that is bonded to the tooth surface.

    Concentrated fluoride gel or rinse used at home is very beneficial for relief of sensitivity. The gel or rinse can be used daily or few times per week, depending of the level of sensitivity.

    Root canal treatment is the last resort if a tooth is extremely sensitive and nothing seems to help.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment

    Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.