Teeth sensitivity causes & treatment

Teeth Sensitivity- Causes and Treatments

Teeth sensitivity and associated pain are very common and it has been estimated that approximately half the population experiences tooth sensitivity. The following information is for creating awareness for teeth sensitivity and its causes and treatments.

If you get a short, sharp, painful sensation in your teeth when you bite into ice cream, take a sip of an icy drink or slurp a mouthful of hot soup, chances are you have sensitive teeth.

Tooth sensitivity is an exaggerated response to stimuli such as hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, exposure to cold air and even brushing your teeth.

What Causes Teeth sensitivity?

Dentinal hypersensitivity, or tooth sensitivity, is a common dental problem. It’s a condition that can develop over time, as a result of common problems such as receding gums and ENAMEL wear. Most sufferers are between 20 and 50 years old. Tooth sensitivity can start to happen when the softer, inner part of the tooth called ‘DENTIN’ becomes exposed. Dentine lies under the “ENAMEL” and the gums.

Thousands of microscopic channels run through the dentine towards the center of the tooth called “PULP”. Once the dentine is exposed, external triggers (such as a cold drink) can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, causing the characteristic short, sharp sensation of tooth sensitivity.

Teeth sensitivity causes & treatment
Teeth Sensitivity- Causes and Treatments

What Makes Exposed Dentin Painful?

Dentin contains thousands of tiny channels that are only visible with a microscope. These channels run from the surface, through the dentin to the nerve center of the tooth — the pulp. The channels contain fluid and after eating or drinking hot or cold foods, the fluid in these tiny channels moves and irritates the nerves in the tooth, causing pain.

Teeth sensitivity causes & treatment
Teeth Sensitivity- Causes and Treatments

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

The root cause of most tooth sensitivity is the loss of a protective covering (Enamel) around a tooth’s dentin which is the material that composes most of the inside of each tooth. Dentin is typically protected by Enamel (the outer covering of each tooth), Cementum (which protects the tooth root under the gum line), and the gums (which further help protect the root of the tooth), but a number of issues can erode this protective layer. When that happens, heat, cold, acidity, and so on can penetrate into the cells and nerves of the tooth, thereby provoking sensitivity.

A number of factors can contribute to enamel loss. These include the following:

Brushing too hard

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush and/or brushing aggressively can wear down tooth enamel. Brushing too hard can also provoke gum recession, which exposes the root of the tooth and may provoke sensitivity.

Eating an acidic and/or high-sugar diet

Consuming acidic and/or sugary foods and beverages—such as soda, coffee, tomato sauce, candy, refined carbohydrates, and citrus fruits—can erode tooth enamel, thereby making the dentin more vulnerable.

Using an acidic mouthwash

Just as acidic foods can wear down tooth enamel, so too can acidic mouthwashes. Long-term use of an acidic mouthwash (such as those containing alcohol or other harsh chemicals) can worsen existing sensitivity.

Teeth grinding

Grinding or clenching your teeth on a regular basis (whether at night or during the day) can gradually wear down tooth enamel, leaving the dentin exposed.

Gum disease

Gum diseases such as gingivitis and the periodontal disease typically provoke gum inflammation and/or recession, which can expose the roots of teeth and cause sensitivity.                                                 

Frequent use of whitening products

Tooth-whitening products are common culprits of tooth sensitivity. That’s because some of the whitening chemicals added to these products are tough on tooth enamel and can wear it down.

Cracked teeth

A chipped or broken tooth is vulnerable to bacteria, which can travel through the crack into the tooth’s dentin and cause pain or sensitivity.

Recent dental procedures

Routine dental procedures such as professional cleanings, crown placements, fillings, and tooth restorations may provoke tooth sensitivity.

Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

Tobacco products increase plaque build-up on teeth which over time can lead to a greater risk of gum recession.

What Can I Do if I Have Sensitive Teeth?

First, tell your dentist. He or she can help you and see what the best treatment is.

To treat tooth sensitivity, your dentist may recommend that you use a low abrasion toothpaste specially made for sensitive teeth — a desensitizing toothpaste. These kinds of toothpaste make the teeth less sensitive if you brush with them twice a day and also contain fluoride to help protect your teeth against decay.  This treatment happens at home when you are brushing your teeth and are inexpensive. Other treatments for sensitive teeth that your dentist can provide include treatments that are painted onto the teeth such as fluoride varnishes and plastic resins fillings if a lot of tooth area has been lost.

Teeth sensitivity causes & treatment-  dentist examining oatient
Teeth Sensitivity- Causes and Treatments- Dentist examining her patient in dental clinic

Root canal treatment

A root canal is performed to remove the inflamed and infected pulp from the inside of a tooth. After the pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is then thoroughly disinfected and cleaned. Then the dentist fills the tooth and seals it with a special rubbery material called gutta-percha. Finally, a restorative element such as a crown or filling is applied to the tooth so that the patient can continue to chew and bite on the tooth without issues. The entire process is performed under anesthesia so patients are comfortable and relaxed. After it’s completed, they can go about their lives as they always have. This is an expensive treatment and needs 4 or 5 sittings with the dentist.

root canal treatment
Teeth Sensitivity- Causes and Treatments– Root canal treatment

Few Home Remedies

  • Guava leaves

Chewing guava leaves or using a topical gel containing guava leaf extract may help reduce tooth pain and sensitivity.

  • Clove oil

Applying clove gel or oil to the gums may help reduce tooth sensitivity and pain.

  • Garlic

Chewing on a piece of garlic briefly produces a compound called Allicin. Allicin has antimicrobial properties and may help kill bacteria that can lead to oral diseases.

  • Saltwater rinse

Using a salt water rinse as a mouthwash is another way to fight bacteria in the mouth and improve oral hygiene.

  • Turmeric

 A person can try making a paste by mixing turmeric and water, then rubbing it into their gums to help reduce tooth pain and sensitivity.

Home remedies for prevention of teeth  decay
Teeth Sensitivity- Causes and Treatments- Home remedies

Take care of your teeth and maintain proper Oral Hygiene. For treatment consult your healthcare provider.

For awareness purposes only.

Published as received from the author.

Maansi Survival Aid Foundation.

Maansi Survival Aid Foundation is committed to serving ailing humanity. We promote healthy living and Ayurvedic concepts through our blogs. We organize free health camps. Have 40+years of experience in the health care industry (Modern medicine & Alternate medicine).

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.