Do you have sensitive teeth? This is a common complaint amongst patients visiting our dentists at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center. It can making eating and drinking hot and cold foods a pain rather than a pleasure, so what causes tooth sensitivity and what can be done about it?
Why Do We Get Tooth Sensitivity?
Your teeth have several different layers. The outside of the tooth is covered in hard tooth enamel, while a layer of dentin is directly underneath. Right in the center of the tooth is the pulp which contains all the nerves of that tooth. Sensitivity occurs when the protective outer layer of tooth enamel becomes thinner, exposing the dentin underneath. Dentin is quite porous as it consists of many tiny tubules that extend towards the pulp. These allow the sensations created by hot and cold foods to reach the center of the tooth and the nerves, causing discomfort and pain.
What Can Be Done about Tooth Sensitivity?
Luckily, quite a lot, but it is best to begin by booking a checkup with one of our dentists at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center. This will help determine the cause of your tooth sensitivity, just in case it is due to untreated tooth decay or some other problem. It could also be that an existing filling is leaking or crumbling which is letting food into the cavity and causing pain. Filings do not last forever and must be renewed every so often. If you have any cracks or chips in your teeth, then these could also be causing tooth sensitivity and mending them will help preserve your tooth while lessening or curing your dental pain.
How Do Specialized Tooth Sensitivity Toothpastes Work?
There are plenty of toothpastes available that are aimed at sensitive teeth, and which can be very effective. They work by gradually helping to fill the exposed tubules in your dentin so these can no longer transmit the sensations of hot and cold to the nerves in your teeth. One thing to bear in mind is that they are only able to seal these tubes temporarily, so the toothpaste needs to be used continuously in order for you to feel the full effect. It also takes a while for the toothpaste to build up a seal over the ends of the tubules, so you may need to use it for a few weeks in order to obtain maximum benefits.
Can I Avoid Tooth Sensitivity?
You might be able to reduce your risk of developing sensitive teeth through taking action to reduce enamel erosion which causes the enamel to thin. Although your tooth enamel will gradually become thinner with age, this effect can be speeded up if you eat or drink lots of highly acidic or very sugary foods. The acids in foods will attack your teeth directly, softening and eroding your tooth enamel, while very sugary foods provide plenty of fuel for bacteria in your mouth, and as they thrive they will produce acids. Cutting back on these types of foods will reduce the rate of enamel erosion.
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