By Medicover Hospitals / 17 Feb 2021
Sensitive Teeth or Tooth Sensitivity, or “Dentin Hypersensitivity,” is exactly what sounds like pain or discomfort in the teeth in response to certain stimuli, such as hot or cold temperatures. It can be a temporary or chronic problem and can affect one tooth, several teeth, or all the teeth of the same individual. This can have many causes, but most cases of sensitive teeth are easily treated with a change in your oral hygiene regimen.
- What is Sensitive Teeth?
- When to visit a Dentist?
- Home Remedies
What is Sensitive Teeth?
Sensitive teeth occur when the underlying layer of your teeth, dentin, is exposed due to receding gum tissue (the protective covering that covers the roots of teeth). The roots, which are not covered by hard enamel, contain thousands of small tubes leading to the center of the tooth. These dentinal tubules enable stimuli - for example, hot, cold, or sweet foods to reach the nerve in your tooth, causing the pain you are experiencing.
1. Brush with too much spirit:
Sometimes, the sensitive teeth come from brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with stiff bristles. Over time, you can wear out the protective layers of your teeth and expose microscopic hollow tubes or channels leading to your dental nerves. When exposed to extreme temperatures or too acidic or sticky foods, this can cause dental sensitivity and discomfort. The easiest solution is to switch to a toothbrush with softer bristles and be softer when brushing.
2. Eat Acidic Foods:
If the pathways to your nerves are exposed, acid foods such as tomato sauce, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, and pickles may cause pain. But avoiding these foods can help you avoid dental discomfort.
3. A tooth crusher:
Even though tooth enamel is the strongest substance in your body, teeth grinding can wear it down. By doing this, you expose the dentin or the middle layer of the tooth that holds the hollow tubes that lead to your nerves. Ask your dentist to find a mouth guard that can keep you from squeaking.
4. Use a whitening toothpaste:
Many manufacturers add whitening chemicals to their toothpaste formulations, and some people are more sensitive to it than others. If your toothpaste contains bleach, consider switching to one that does not.
5. Addicted to Mouthwashes:
Like whitening toothpaste, some over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses contain alcohol and other chemicals that can make your teeth more sensitive, especially if your dentin is exposed. Instead, try to flush with neutral fluoride or simply skip the flushing and be more diligent in flossing and brushing.
6. Gum Disease:
Receding gums, which is more and more common with age (especially if you have not been monitoring your dental health), can lead to sensitive teeth. If gum disease or gingivitis is the problem, your dentist will make a plan to treat the underlying disease and may also suggest a procedure to seal your teeth.
7. Excessive Plaque:
The goal of flossing and brushing is to remove plaque that forms after eating. Excessive plaque buildup can lead to tooth enamel wear. Again, your teeth may become more sensitive as they lose the protection provided by the enamel. The solution is to practice good daily dental care and visit your dentist for cleanings every six months - or more frequently.
8. A Dental Procedure:
It is common to experience some tenderness after root canal treatment, extraction, or crown placement. If the symptoms do not go away after a short time, schedule another visit to your dentist, as this could be a sign of infection.
9. Cracked Tooth:
A chipped or cracked tooth can cause pain that goes beyond sensitive teeth. Your dentist will need to assess your tooth and decide on the right treatment, such as copying or extraction.
10. Decomposition of Fillings on the Edges:
As we age, fillings can weaken and fracture or leak around the edges. It's easy for bacteria to build up in these tiny crevices, causing acid build-up and enamel breakdown. Be sure to see your dentist if you notice this type of sensitive teeth between visits; in most cases, the fillings can be easily replaced.
- If you experience sensitive teeth for the first time, make an appointment with your dentist. They can examine the health of your teeth and look for potential problems such as cavities, loose fillings, or receding gums that could be causing the sensitivity.
- Your dentist will do this during your routine dental cleaning. They will clean your teeth and do a visual examination. They can touch your teeth using dental instruments to check for sensitivity, and they can also order an x-ray on your teeth to rule out causes such as cavities.
- Desensitizing toothpaste: After several applications, desensitizing toothpaste can sometimes help block the pain associated with sensitive teeth: There are a variety of nonprescription products. Ask your dentist which product is best for your dental care.
- Fluoride: Your dentist may apply fluoride to sensitive areas of your teeth to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce pain. He or she might also suggest the use of prescription fluoride at home, applied via a personalized tray.
- Desensitization or Bonding: Sometimes exposed root surfaces can be treated by applying an adhesive resin to sensitive root surfaces. Local anesthesia may be necessary.
- Surgical gum transplant: If your tooth root has lost gum tissue, a small amount of gum tissue can also be taken from your mouth and attached to the affected site. This will protect exposed roots and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal: If your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments are ineffective, your dentist can recommend a root canal- a procedure used to treat problems with the soft core of the tooth (dental pulp). Although this may seem like an important treatment, it is considered the most effective technique for removing sensitive teeth.
When to visit a Dentist?
If a person experiences persistent or severe tooth pain and tenderness, they should see their dentist for a checkup.
According to the cause and severity of sensitivity, a dentist may recommend:
- using fluoride gel or desensitizing agents
- a filling
- a crown
- an inlay or an inlay
- a surgical gum transplant
- a root canal
Here are some home remedies that help with sensitive teeth:
Sesame oil or coconut oil can help reduce sensitive teeth. Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic practice originating in India, which involves swirling the oil around the mouth for several minutes before spitting it out.
Chewing on guava leaves or using a topical gel that contains guava leaf extract can help reduce tooth pain and sensitivity.
People have long utilized clove oil as a popular remedy for toothaches. Research suggests that there is more than just tradition.
Garlic is a traditional remedy for a range of health problems. One use of garlic in traditional medicine is to treat toothache. Chewing on a piece of garlic briefly produces a compound called allicin. Allicin has antimicrobial properties and can help kill bacteria that can lead to oral diseases, such as Streptococcus mutans.
Another way to fight bacteria in the mouth and improve oral hygiene is using a saltwater mouthwash. To make a saltwater rinse, add half a teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Then run the saltwater around your mouth several times before spitting it out.
Capsaicin is a spicy substance naturally present in chili peppers. Although capsaicin can cause burns when a person applies it to their skin or gums, it can also reduce pain. Applying capsaicin gel to the gums can relieve pain in sensitive teeth.
Turmeric is a yellow spice and an Ayurvedic remedy for reducing inflammation. Turmeric contains curcumin, which can help relieve pain. A person can try making a paste by mixing turmeric and water and then rubbing it into their gums to help reduce pain and sensitivity in the teeth. However, there is no scientific research yet to support this use of turmeric.
Using dental products that contain fluoride can reduce the risk of cavities and can also help minimize sensitive teeth.
There are many forms of fluoride treatment suitable for everyday use, including:
- Desensitizing toothpaste contains agents that make dentin less permeable. Dentin is a hard, porous tissue that is found under the enamel layer of all teeth.
- When the dentin is less permeable, it means that it is more difficult for the liquid to pass through it. Reduced patency protects the nerve below, which helps decrease sensitive teeth and pain.
- Dental desensitizing agents include:
- metal ions
- Using a desensitizing toothpaste that contains potassium is an option for people with sensitive teeth
People can help protect their tooth enamel and prevent sensitive teeth by:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss once a day
- Take breaks to whiten teeth
- Limit the consumption of sugary, starchy, and acidic foods
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Wear a mouthguard at night to prevent grinding and clenching of teeth
- See a dentist regularly
- Stop smoking
Frequently Asked Questions:
Sensitive teeth are caused by faded tooth enamel or exposed nerves in your teeth. When you eat or drink something extremely hot or cold, you may experience a sudden, sharp flash of pain.
This can cause temporary sensitivity to hot and cold, but it usually wears off after a week or two. Whether you have one or more sensitive teeth, it is wise to see your dentist immediately.
Having a sensitive tooth is a fairly common problem, but what does it mean? Cold-sensitive teeth are the most common and can be caused by receding gums. Of more concern is having heat-sensitive teeth.
Risk factors for developing tooth sensitivity - http://www.quintpub.com/userhome/qi/qi_28_8_leonard_5.pdf
Treating sensitivity during tooth whitening - https://europepmc.org/article/med/17039676
Incidence of tooth sensitivity after home whitening treatment - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002817714635625