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Tooth sensitivity - What is it and how to treat it?

Is the simple contact with ice cream a painful experience? Does brushing or flossing bother you? In that case, you may have sensitive teeth, one of the most common dental problems. In this post we talk about the causes of hypersensitivity and possible treatments.



What is tooth sensitivity?

Dental hypersensitivity is characterized and defined as pain or discomfort of the teeth when faced with a stimulus. This stimulus can be a change in temperature or the chemical nature of the substance we are eating. The pain lasts for a certain moment and then disappears until the next stimulus that causes it.

Tooth sensitivity affects 1 in 7 people, especially women. The pain usually appears in everyday situations and is more common in autumn and winter. But what is the origin of this sensitivity in the teeth?


The origin of tooth sensitivity:

In healthy teeth there is a layer that protects the crown called enamel. Likewise, under the gums there is another layer that protects the root of the tooth called the cementum. Finally, beneath the enamel and cementum is the dentin, a less dense layer that contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or channels).

When the dentin loses the protective covering of the enamel or cementum, or the gums retract leaving part of the root exposed, these tubules allow temperature or acidity to reach the nerves and cells within the tooth, generating tooth sensitivity.


What elements can cause tooth sensitivity?

Dental sensitivity is caused by an erosion of the enamel or cement. And this erosion may have been caused by very different reasons:

1)   Foods and drinks that cause tooth sensitivity:

The consumption of acidic drinks such as wine or carbonated water or foods that contain acids such as acidic fruits, snacks with vinegar, sweets can cause sensitivity. It is also common for some swimmers to suffer from this problem from frequent contact with chlorinated water.

2)   Tooth decay:

Closely related to the previous point is dental caries, an infectious disease caused by bacteria that exist in the mouth and that can also damage the dentin, with its consequent consequences.

3)   Medication that causes tooth sensitivity:

Some medications can cause tooth sensitivity such as long-term aspirin or vitamin C treatments. People with hiatal hernia with regurgitation and vomiting also suffer from sensitivity.

4)   Improper tooth brushing:

Brushing your teeth with excessive pressure, too often or with a very hard brush can cause wear on the enamel. To avoid this, here is a post about the frequent mistakes in tooth brushing.



5)   Bruxism:

Grinding your teeth at night or clenching them excessively throughout the day ends up causing significant damage to the enamel.

6)   Fractured or worn teeth:

Any damage or fracture to the teeth can lead to tooth sensitivity. The same thing happens with fillings in poor condition.

7)   Gum disease:

The inflammation of the gum tissue caused by gum disease can cause the roots to be exposed, generating sensitivity in the teeth.

8)   Gum recession:

An advanced stage of gum recession can expose the root with its consequent consequences.


Treatment of dental sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity has a solution, although the type of treatment will depend on what is causing it:

A) Desensitizing toothpastes contain compounds that help block the transmission of painful sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. Usually requires several applications before sensitivity is reduced.

B) Fluoride gel is a technique performed in the dental clinic that strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of stimuli.

C) The crown, filling or inlay are used to correct a defect, caries or fracture that can also cause sensitivity.

D) Gingival graft: If a loss of gum tissue causes root exposure, this gingival graft will protect the roots and reduce tooth sensitivity.

E) Root canal treatment: if tooth sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other methods, your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment to solve the problem.


F) Diet that reduces tooth sensitivity:

As we have seen previously, diet is one of the main causes of tooth sensitivity, so having a proper diet can help in this regard. If we modify some products from our diet we will see how dental hypersensitivity decreases. Some tips that we offer:

  • Limit consumption of foods and beverages that erodes your enamel.
  • Increase consumption of foods rich in oxalate, such as spinach or bananas.
  • Incorporate dairy products in your diet high in calcium such as milk or cheese.
  • Avoid extremes of very cold or very hot liquids.

  • Avoid foods rich in sugar.



Treatment of tooth sensitivity in A Coruña.

If you live in A Coruña and suffer from hypersensitivity in your teeth, at Clínica Médico Dental Pardiñas we are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of this problem. Our medical professionals will offer you a specific solution for your sensitivity adapted to the cause that is generating it. Ask us for an appointment with us without obligation.

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