Tooth Sensitivity Causes and Treatment Options

February 07, 2020, Oceanview Dental Care

Tooth Sensitivity Causes and Treatment Options
Tooth Sensitivity Causes and Treatment Options
Tooth sensitivity (dentin hypersensitivity) is the discomfort or pain in the teeth as a result of particular stimuli – such as cold or hot temperatures. It is a dental problem that affects many people.

Sensitivity happens when the enamel (that protects your teeth) becomes thinner hence exposing the inner surface. Tooth sensitivity is said to affect more than 50% of the population.

Tooth sensitivity can either be a chronic or temporary problem that can affect a single tooth or several of them. There are several factors attributed to sensitivity. However, most of the symptoms can be treated by changing your oral hygiene

Signs and Symptoms of tooth sensitivity

People who experience the problem of sensitive teeth often experience pain or discomfort in response to a certain trigger. The pain is usually felt at the roots of the affected teeth.

Below are some of the most common triggers: -

• Cold beverages and foods
• Cold air
• Sweet foods and beverages
• Cold water – mostly during routine dental cleaning
• Flossing or brushing teeth
• Acidic foods and beverages
• Mouth rinses that are laced with alcohol

Note that symptoms may come and disappear from time to time for no apparent reason. Some symptoms are mild while others are intense. If the pain persists, speak with your local dentist.

Causes of sensitive teeth

There are people who are born with more sensitive teeth than others – because they have a thinner enamel (outer layer of the tooth) meant for protecting it.

However, the tooth’s enamel may experience erosion as a result of brushing your teeth so hard, using a hard toothbrush, regular intake of acidic foods and drinks and grinding your teeth at night.

Other conditions that may cause teeth sensitivity

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) - can make the acid from the stomach to come up and wear down the enamel in the long run.

Gums recession – It can leave some sections of the tooth unprotected and exposed – resulting in insensitivity.

Decay, broken teeth

This is also another major cause of sensitivity. Tooth decay and worn-out fillings or crowns may leave the dentine of the tooth exposed – causing sensitivity. This often causes sensitivity in a specific tooth or teeth.

Diagnosis of sensitive teeth

If you start experiencing tooth sensitivity for the first time, then make an effort to see a dentist for treatment. The dentist will take a look at the teeth and check for potential issues such as loose fillings, recessed gums or cavities that could be the source of sensitivity.

How is tooth sensitivity treated after diagnosis?

If your tooth sensitivity is mild, you can try over-the-counter dental solutions. For example, there are certain kinds of toothpaste that are specifically made for sensitive teeth. Such kinds of toothpaste are manufactured without irritating ingredients. A dentist can also advise you on the most appropriate action to take regarding your dental health.

Some of them have desensitizing elements that can block prevent the pain from passing through the nerve of the tooth. 

Besides that, choose alcohol-free rinse for mouth wash – since It’s less irritating to teeth that are sensitive. Brushing more gently with a soft brush can also help reduce sensitivity. Doing so helps in preventing erosion of enamel.

Prevention of tooth sensitivity

Dentists emphasize on the importance of oral hygiene. They recommend that you brush at least two minutes two times a day. Brush using a soft toothbrush and a toothpaste that is free from high levels of abrasives. Dental care and health should be a priority to everyone.

In general, tooth sensitivity is a common problem across the world. It affects more than 50% of the population. As we have seen, some people are naturally born with sensitive teeth – meaning there’s not much that can be done to prevent. Ensure you see your dentist once you experience any signs of sensitivity.

Nonetheless, there are different ways of dental treatment and prevention against tooth sensitivity such as brushing for two minutes twice daily and staying away from sugary and acidic foods & beverages. The importance of dental care cannot be overemphasized.


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