Is the taste of ice cream or hot coffee a painful experience sometimes? Do you feel discomfort when breathing cold air, brushing, consuming hot, cold, sweet or sour food? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.Many people suffer from sensitive teeth and it can start at any time. Tooth sensitivity is among the common causes of a toothache. The pain of tooth sensitivity is usually sharp, sudden and shooting. It can come and go, with sometimes being worse than others.
Sensitive teeth are a common dental problem known as dentine hypersensitivity. Teeth can become sensitive when the enamel that covers them begins to erode.
The inside of a tooth is primarily made up of a material called dentin, which contains microscopic tubules filled with tiny nerve endings. An outer layer of enamel protects the dentin within the crown portion of your tooth, and the dentin extending down to the root of your tooth is protected by a layer of cementum. As the enamel wears away, the underlying layer of dentin is exposed, and results in discomfort when consuming hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods.
The level of sensitivity can vary, meaning you can experience anything from mild to severe discomfort. This is a condition that can develop over time, and most sufferers are between 20 and 50 years old.
Sensitive teeth can also be a warning sign of serious dental problems.
To be able to treat these issues, it helps to know what might be behind them. Once you’ve found the cause, you can find a solution.
Sensitive teeth can be caused by the following dental issues:
Sensitive teeth can be troublesome, but they can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Even in situations where there is no obvious cause for your pain, there are numerous treatments to help you manage the sensitivity.
Having a conversation with your dentist is the first step in finding relief from your discomfort. Describe your symptoms and tell your dentist when the pain started.
After your dentist determines the reason for your sensitivity, he or she will treat the underlying cause. Treatment may be as simple as fixing a cavity or replacing a worn filling. However, if your discomfort comes from gum loss exposing root surfaces, your dentist may suggest a gum graft that a periodontist would conduct to protect the root surface and support of the tooth.
Here are some of the most common treatments for sensitive teeth:
If you have dentine hypersensitivity, you can help to minimise further exposure of the dentine and relieve the painful symptoms by making some simple changes to your daily oral care routine and dietary habits. As well as keeping up to date with your dentist appointments, and making sure you maintain a good oral hygiene routine at home, the steps below can help you to prevent sensitive teeth:
If you pass on hot or cold drinks because you know they’ll make your teeth hurt, it may be time to talk to your dentist about the possibility that you have sensitive teeth. Only a dentist can confirm if you have dentine hypersensitivity. If you are experiencing any dental problems, always consult your dentist for advice. During an examination, your dentist will talk to you about your symptoms, look at your teeth to find out what is causing the sensitivity and the best way of treating it.
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