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Tooth sensitivity: Surprising reasons and remedies

Is sipping hot coffee or enjoying an ice-cream painful or tingling? If you are clueless to why its happening, the take a chill pill! Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common teeth problem in the world.

It’s not as difficult to treat as you probably think. And you are most probably not the only one who’s having this annoying problem. Tooth sensitivity is relatively common. Approximately 1 in 8 people experience sensitive teeth, according to a study published in March 2013 in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).

What is sensitivity? 

The American Academy of Endodontists (AAE) describes tooth sensitivity as… ” A brief sensation caused by a stimulus, such as heat or cold, to exposed dentin, the layer beneath the hard, white enamel of the teeth. When dentin loses its protective covering, the nerves within the teeth lose their buffer.”

Decorated DDS, Riverview Dental Wellness Center, Hanover, Massachusetts and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association Richard Price stated that “The nerve of the tooth can only react one way when it’s stimulated, and that’s what causes pain.”

This is why you sometimes confuse sensitivity to a sharp short-lasting shock-like pain. And it is very important you consult the best dentist in your area to understand the actual cause so that you don’t have to live a whole life with it

Is it permanently treatable? YES!! 

It’s a common myth that sensitivity is somehow not completely treatable. Well, the good news is. No! It can be treatable given the reasons are detected correctly. For this, we need to understand the reasons, to begin with, 

Cold drinks

The most common factors to be aware of are:-

Pattern of diet: Acidic food, coke etc can adversely affect the enamel (dissolves the crystalline structure -hydroxyapatite crystals) 

Habits: Night grinding (Bruxism is the involuntary grinding of teeth mostly while sleeping or under stressful conditions) causes wearing of enamel over a period of time

Gum issues: Receding gums expose the roots of your teeth. This in turn can render them sensitive. It’s mostly seen in pregnancy as gums tend to be swollen, weak and receding. 

Biting on hard food/things: Frequently biting on hard food can cause abfraction (wearing of enamel at the bottom of the crown area) leading to severe sensitivity. These are common in your canine and premolar areas

Underlying digestive problems: Having chronic digestive issues can gradually show up as sensitivity. Conditions like bulimia, acid reflux, GERD causes wearing of enamel and cause tooth sensitivity 

Recent dental work: It is common to have mild sensitivity up to 4 days post any dental work (ex: Teeth cleaning, whitening) However consult your dentist if it persists for a longer time

Iatrogenic trauma: The dentist should address faulty restorations and sensitivity after the root canal therapy.

Cavity: Cavities can cause sensitivity to cold/sweets(in cases of reversible pulpitis). These are usually reversible if restored with a proper filling.

However, if the sensitivity/pain lasts longer than an hour (irreversible pulpitis) you might require other treatments (Root canal therapy) which can permanently relieve your sensitivity

Ice creams

Broken /fractured/split tooth: Usually a fractured front tooth can be sensitive to air, pressure or cold food. Biting on hard food can sometimes crack your back tooth. This can also cause severe sensitivity in teeth. Consider consulting a good dentist for the same.

Both of these can be treated  and relieved if you consult a good dentist.

You can enjoy ice cream, sweets and candies without thinking twice!! 

Permanent solution for tooth sensitivity!!! 

  • Rule out the possibility of cavities by visiting your dentist. As it is difficult to see it through your direct vision. 
  • Notice the cause. Mild sensitivity on cold / sweet intake is usually treatable with regular use of toothpaste with desensitizing agents. If you are sensitive to hot food, or even to cold intake that lasts beyond 20-30mins, it’s time to consult your dentist already. 
  • Use a soft-bristled brush and brush in the correct way
  • If you notice your gums receding, use warm salt water rinse. Even application of a gum astringent serves good as a temporary relief.
  • Do not ignore a broken filling
  • Avoid acidic and carbonated food intake
  • Treat your digestive problems if you notice any (frequent regurgitation’s, gastric irritations, irritable bowel syndrome) This can save your enamel from eroding off

Ready for your first appointment?