Sensitive Teeth

If you occasionally experience a sudden flash of pain, or a mild tingly feeling when you bite into sweet or sour foods or drink hot or cold beverages, you may have sensitive teeth. Pain from sensitive teeth is not always constant; it can come and go. Constant pain could be a sign of a more serious problem. It is important to discuss your symptoms with your dentist to determine the cause and proper treatment.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

In healthy teeth, porous tissue called dentin is protected by your gums and your teeth's hard enamel shell. When this protection is lost, microscopic holes in the dentin called tubules allow heat, cold and other irritants to be transmitted back to the tooth nerve, triggering pain.

Dentin can be exposed by:

  • fractured or chipped teeth
  • clenching or grinding your teeth
  • ageing process
  • tooth decay
  • worn teeth
  • hypo-mineralised teeth, which could be genetic.

Treatment

Depending on the diagnosis, your dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatments to relieve the symptoms of sensitive teeth:

  • A soft-bristle toothbrush.
  • A special toothpaste for sensitive teeth that can either block access to the nerve or make the nerve itself less sensitive.
  • A fluoride tooth moose for sensitive teeth, recommended by your dentist.
  • A composite resin restoration to repair the damaged dentine surface.
  • A crown to protect a broken down tooth.
  • Sensitive toothpaste to be used daily.
  • A night splint to protect from clenching.

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