Many people suffer from some form of oral sensitivity, but what are sensitive teeth?
The broad description of painful teeth can range from a slight painful sensation when eating or brushing your teeth, to a much more painful ache which is longer lasting.
Painful teeth can also be a sign of some other dental condition, and if typical solutions for teeth sensitivity don’t work it’s worth investigating further.
The condition can affect anyone of any age, and although most cases are discovered in the twenties, the condition can develop much later in life too.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
There are many causes, although the most common are:
- Receding Gums
- Damaged Tooth Enamel
- Gum Disease
You may also experience Tooth pain and sensitivity whenever a tooth is damaged or cracked, and after having dental treatment such as a filling.
When the gums begin to recede, with age or through some form of gum disease, it exposes the roots of the tooth to both damage and sensitivity.
When the tooth enamel is damaged through accident, tooth decay, or bruxism (grinding your teeth) the surface under the enamel is more sensitive and vulnerable to pain.
This type of pain is not the same as toothache, and anyone who has suffered root canal pain will immediately know the difference.
The onset of pain in the teeth tends to be associated with consumption of hot or cold drinks or food. It may also occur after eating very sweet substances, or after being in a very cold climate. However, what effects one person need not necessarily affect another.
Can You Get Rid Of Sensitive Teeth?
There are several options to try to get rid of the sensitivity, although you may not find a solution overnight.
Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth
There is a temptation to avoid brushing your teeth if the process seems to trigger off the pain. However, this is the worst thing you can do, as it will allow plaque to build up which could exasperate any gum disease or tooth decay problem.
There are many brands of desensitizing toothpaste, and with regular use they may help.
It’s a common misconception that you only need to use the toothpaste until the sensitivity is gone.
It may take some time to feel the benefit, but if the toothpaste helps then continue to use it, even after you no longer experience pain.
Mouthwashes for sensitive teeth and gums are also available, for use in conjunction with toothpastes.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Avoiding very hot or very cold food and drink can make a big difference, because although it isn’t a cure for the sensitivity, intense cold or heat can be a trigger for the pain.
Can A Dentist Help?
If you have tried to solve your problem without success then it might be advisable to visit a dentist.
Firstly, a dental expert may be able to detect an obvious cause simply by a regular oral examination.
Any tooth decay can be treated, as can any signs of gum disease, if either of these is responsible for the problem.
Also, the possibility of phantom tooth pain (atypical odontalgia) can also be investigated.
In certain circumstances your dentist may offer to provide a dental coating to help protect the teeth and reduce sensitivity.
The level of pain you experience will determine how quickly you seek outside help.
There are many good over the counter products to help with sensitive teeth, and your dental clinic may be able to advise on the best one for you.