Have you ever felt some discomfort in teeth due to a bite of an ice-cream or a sip of hot soup? If yes, then you are suffering from the problem called “Teeth Sensitivity” In dentistry, Teeth Sensitivity is also called as “Dentin hypersensitivity” It is intensive pain in the teeth that is caused by worn out teeth enamel, exposed tooth roots, cavity, chipped or cracked tooth and gum disease.Many say that they have “sensitive teeth”. They usually mean that they feel transient pain or discomfort in their teeth due to following stimuli:
- Drinking or eating cold things
- Drinking or eating hot things
- Eating excess of sweets
What causes sudden teeth sensitivity?
- Brushing your teeth too hard/ Faulty brushing technique.
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Long-term tooth wear (Abrasion/Erosion).
- Untreated cavities.
- An old filling with a crack or leak (micro-leakage).
- Receding gums that expose the tooth’s roots.
- Gum surgery that exposes tooth’s roots.
- Frequently having acidic foods or drinking acidic liquids.
- Tooth Decay or infection.
- A recent filling.
- Excessive pressure from clenching or grinding.
- A cracked or broken tooth.
What does sensitive teeth feel like?The pain felt in teeth sensitivity is sharp and sudden, in response to an external stimulus. The most common cause is cold stimuli. 75% of people with hypersensitivity report pain upon application because of the cold. Other types of stimuli may also trigger pain in dentin hypersensitivity, including:
- Thermal – hot and cold drinks and foods,cold air, coolant water jet from a dental instrument.
- Electrical – electric pulp testers.
- Mechanical–tactile – dental probe during dental examination, periodontal scaling and root planing, toothbrushing.
- Osmotic – hypertonic solutions such as sugars.
- Evaporation – air blast from a dental instrument.
- Chemical – acids, e.g. dietary, gastric, acid etch during dental treatments.
- The frequency and severity with which the pain occurs are variable.
How is tooth pain diagnosed?Our dentist will look at your dental history and will examine your mouth. You will also need X-rays which are free of cost at Sabka Dentist to show if there is decay or a problem with the nerve. The dentist will ask you about your oral habits. The dentist also will look for decay, deep fillings and exposed root surfaces. They may use an explorer to test teeth for cavity. Composite fillings require etching the tooth with acid before the filling is placed. In some cases, this etching might make the tooth sensitive. However, advances in bonding now make it less likely to cause tooth sensitivity. The dentist can do tests to see if you need root canal treatment.
How do dentists fix sensitive teeth?Teeth sensitivity is quite treatable, whatever the cause. Your dentist or dental hygienist will clean your teeth. If your teeth are too sensitive to be cleaned, your dentist may use a local anesthetic before the cleaning. After a cleaning, your dentist may apply a fluoride varnish. The principle of teeth sensitivity treatments is either occlusion of dentin tubules (e.g. resins, varnishes, toothpastes) or desensitization of nerve fibres/blocking the neural transmission (e.g. potassium chloride potassium citrate, potassium nitrate). A newer approach is to use a dental laser. The laser treatment also alters the tubules to reduce sensitivity. Using fluoride toothpastes and fluoride mouth rinses at home will help to reduce sensitivity. You also can buy sensitivity toothpastes just for sensitive teeth. Talk to your dentist about which fluoride rinses you should use. Some over-the-counter rinses are acidic. Others are not. You should choose a fluoride mouth rinse that uses neutral sodium fluoride. Pulpal sensitivity will be treated with a root canal if the tooth’s nerve is damaged or dying. Your dentist will remove the nerve and place a non-reactive substance (gutta percha) in the space where the nerve was. The tooth no longer will have a continuous barrier of enamel to protect it. Therefore, it will be restored with either a composite filling or a crown. To reduce pain due to grinding or clenching, the dentist will make a plastic night guard. Use the guard while you sleep.
When To Call a ProfessionalIf sensitivity lasts for longer than a few weeks, contact Sabka dentist. If you have a scheduled cleaning coming up soon, talk to our dentist about your sensitivity during your appointment. In most of the cases , teeth sensitivity are easy to treat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the causes and remedies for teeth sensitivity?
Teeth sensitivity or Dentin Hypersensitivity is dental pain arising from exposed dentin surfaces in response to any stimuli like thermal, chemical, electric, etc.
Following are the main causes:
- Gingival Recession (Receding gums) that exposes root surfaces, results in loss of cementum layer and tooth wear
- Tooth erosion caused by GERD, Bulimia or Excessive consumption of acidic foods and drinks
- Faulty brushing technique resulting in Dental Abrasion
- Chronic Periodontitis/Gum Disease
- Fractured tooth
- Worn out fillings/ Dislodged restoration
- Teeth clenching habit/ Bruxism
- Dental bleaching
- Smoking tobacco
Dentin layer of a tooth contains thousands of dentinal tubules which have plasma like fluid. Changes in the flow of this fluid can trigger mechanoreceptors present on nerves at the pulpal aspect. This triggers transient, intense pain. Changes in hydrodynamic flow of this fluid is stimulated by cold, sour, air pressure, drying, sugar, etc
Following are the remedies:
Teeth Sensitivity is treated by either obtunding these dentinal tubules (varnishes/ resins/ toothpastes) or desensitization of nerve fibers/blocking neural transmission ( potassium nitrate). Silver Diammine Fluoride has proved to be most effective. Also, gingival erosion and cervical tooth wear can be avoided with healthy oral hygiene and dietary practices. Proper brushing technique (Modified Stillman’s or Modified Bass Technique).
What is the best toothpaste for teeth sensitivity?
GC Tooth Mousse Plus is the most effective and should be used if directed by the dentist. It contains fluoride and CPC – ACP that buffers free calcium and phosphate ions to maintain supersaturated state that inhibits demineralization and promotes remineralization.
Sensodyne is also effective as it contains potassium nitrate. The potassium ion hyperpolarizes the nerve and stops it from firing. The nerve impulses are thus desensitized and there is no pain.
What does sensitive teeth feel like?
How do you tell if you have cavity or just sensitive teeth?
How to stop sensitive teeth pain?
- Use of desensitizing tooth paste.
- Use of soft bristled brush.
- Avoid food that is highly acidic in nature.
- Use of fluoridated mouth wash.
- Use of mouthguard in case of teeth clenching/bruxism habit.
- Use of fluoride gel or varnish.
- Bonding Treatment, Crown Restoration or Inlay Restoration, if directed by dentists.
- Gum augmentation periodontal surgery for root coverage.