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Sensitive Teeth?

Avoid eating cold foods or drinking hot beverages because your teeth are sensitive? It might be time to get to the bottom of this painful condition. So, what causes sensitive teeth? Any number of underlying dental problems, and a diagnosis starts with your dentist.

Origin of Dentine Hypersensitivity

diagram of sensitive teethYour teeth are made of 3 sections or areas. The enamel (outer portion) above the gum and cementum below the gum, the dentine (the predominant portion of the tooth under the enamel) and the pulp (the nerve in the centre of the tooth). The dentine contains microscopic tubules, or tunnels filled with tiny nerve endings. The enamel protects the dentine within the crown portion (above the gum) of your tooth, and the dentine extending down the root is protected by the cementum.

Dentine hypersensitivity occurs when these protective coverings are lost, which expose the nerve endings to hot, cold, acidic, sticky or even sweet foods!

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be caused by the following dental issues:

  • Worn tooth enamel from using a hard toothbrush and/ or brushing aggressively
  • Tooth erosion due to highly acidic foods and beverages
  • Tooth decay, worn leaky fillings and broken teeth that expose the dentine of your teeth
  • Gum recession that leaves your root surface exposed
  • Grinding your teeth at night
  • Post dental treatment sensitivity- can be common, but temporary, especially with procedures such as crowns, fillings and tooth whitening

Preliminary Dental Treatment

Here at 7 Pearls Dental, after we are informed of the history of your discomfort and pain, we will determine the aim for your sensitivity and treat the underlying cause(s). Treatment may be as simple as fixing a cavity or replacing a worn filling or even using a desensitising agent.  However, if the discomfort is more complicated such as from gum loss exposing the root surfaces, a gum graft may be required to protect the root surface and support the tooth. That may be done through a specialist periodontist.

Desensitizing Products

In situations where there is no obvious cause for your pain, there are still numerous treatment options to help manage your sensitivity. We can apply an in-office fluoride gel to strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce the painful sensations, as well as discuss over-the-counter desensitizing toothpastes that can block off the nerve endings in the exposed dentine. So, if you’ve been suffering with painful sensitivity that keeps you from eating the foods you love, make an appointment with us at 7 Pearls Dental today, and you may be eating ice cream tomorrow!

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