Tooth sensitivity is an uncomfortable experience that can affect daily quality of life. Have you ever felt a sharp twinge when eating something hot or cold? Does it hurt when you brush your teeth? These symptoms could indicate hypersensitivity, which is a condition characterized by a sharp, brief pain that occurs in the teeth when they come into contact with external stimuli, such as cold, hot, sweet, or acidic foods or drinks. This condition can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender.
In this article, from our dental clinic in Malaga and Torremolinos, Gross Dentistas, we will explore the possible causes and treatments available to alleviate this discomfort.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity occurs when dentin, which is the layer underneath tooth enamel, is exposed. Dentin contains microscopic channels that lead to the nerve of the tooth. When these channels are exposed, external stimuli can cause the nerve to become irritated and pain to occur.
There are several causes that can lead to tooth sensitivity, including:
- Toothenamel erosion: Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth and the one that protects it from damage. Enamel erosion can be caused by brushing too hard, bruxism (grinding or clenching your teeth), or eating acidic foods and drinks.
- Gum recession: Gum recession is the loss of gum tissue that surrounds the tooth. When the gum recedes, the root of the tooth is exposed, which can lead to sensitivity.
- Cavities: Cavities are holes that occur in the tooth when bacteria produce acids that break down enamel. When decay reaches the dentin, it can lead to sensitivity.
- Dental Treatments:Some dental treatments, such as endodontics (root canal treatment) or dental implant placement, can cause sensitivity, but it is temporary.
- Consumption of acidic foods and beverages: Acidic foods and beverages can erode tooth enamel over time, increasing sensitivity. Limiting your intake of these products and rinsing your mouth after consuming them can help.
- Poor oral hygiene habits: Plaque buildup and lack of proper oral hygienecan lead to problems such as tooth decay and periodontitis, contributing to tooth sensitivity.
- Bruxism: The habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, known as bruxism, can wear away enamel and lead to sensitivity. The use of night guards can be beneficial.
Tooth sensitivity Treatments
Treatment for tooth sensitivity depends on the cause. In some cases, simple steps can be taken to relieve pain, such as avoiding foods and beverages that cause sensitivity or using desensitizing toothpaste.
In other cases, more complex treatment may be necessary, such as:
- Root canal treatments: When sensitivity is related to problems in the dental pulp, such as advanced cavities, a root canal treatment may be necessary.
- Implants and veneers: In more advanced cases, the use of dental implantsor veneers may be an option to restore tooth structure and reduce sensitivity.
- Treatment of tooth enamel erosion:Treatment of tooth enamel erosion may consist of:
- Remineralize the enamel with fluoride.
- Apply a protective layer of resin or composite.
- Gumgraft surgery: Gum graft surgery involves transplanting gum tissue from another part of the mouth to cover the exposed tooth root.
Tips to prevent tooth sensitivity
To help prevent tooth sensitivity, it is recommended to follow these tips:
- Brush your teethgently: Brushing your teeth too hard can wear down enamel and lead to sensitivity.
- Use a desensitizing toothpaste rich in fluoride: Desensitizing toothpastes contain ingredients that help block microscopic channels in the dentin.
- Visit the dentist regularly: The dentist can detect and treat any dental problems that may lead to sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity is not a problem that should be ignored. Seeing a dentist for an accurate diagnosis and discussing treatment options can make all the difference in your oral quality of life. Don’t let tooth sensitivity affect your well-being or harm your quality of life, contact us.