Tooth sensitivity remedies

Tooth Sensitivity, Reasons and Remedies

Eating and drinking sometimes becomes difficult when we experience sensitivity in the tooth. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem in adults. It is more common in people aged between 20 and 40, It can affect people in their early teens and when they are over 70. Women are more likely to be affected than men.

What causes sensitive teeth?

Possible cause of tooth sensitivity is:

  • Tooth decay
  • Fractured teeth, broken teeth
  • Teeth bleaching
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease -gum recession
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Exposed root

When there is a movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin it results in nerve irritation. When there is problem with enamel (when worn down) or receded gum, these tiny tubes are exposed causing irritation, eating cold or hot foods, drinking hot or cold beverages, exposing teeth to cold air results in sensation in teeth.

Sometimes this could lead to pain and might change our food habits. Normal foods that we regularly eat could make it difficult to eat because of sensitivity in teeth. Citrus fruits, anything that is cold and sour, pickles, ice cream etc. makes it difficult to eat and swallow. Sometimes acid reflux can also create problem in enamel due to acidic environment in mouth.

What is tooth structure and one can experience sensitivity?

Our teeth are composed of four dental tissues. Three of them—enamel, dentin, and cementum—are hard tissues. The fourth tissue—pulp, or the center of the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue—is a soft, or non-calcified, tissue.

Any damage or issues in these parts of tooth can result in tooth sensitivity

  • Enamel: hard calcified tissue covering the dentin in the crown of tooth
  • Anatomical crown: Visible part of tooth, covered by enamel
  • Gums or gingiva: soft tissue that cover and protect roots of teeth
  • Pulp chamber: Space occupied by the pulp – soft tissue at the center of teeth containing blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues.
  • Dentin: Part of tooth beneath enamel and cementum
  • Root canal: Portion of pulp cavity inside the root
  • Cementum: Hard connective tissue covers the tooth root.
  • Periodontal ligament: Connective tissue fibers that connect root of tooth to socket.

Symptoms of tooth sensitivity

  1. Sudden sharp flash of pain when exposed to cold air, cold condition, sweet, acidic or hot foods
  2. Sensitivity after brushing and flossing teeth
  3. Pain when biting or chewing food
  4. Tooth sensitivity localized to one tooth or more than one
  5. Staining on tooth surface

What triggers tooth sensitivity issue?

  • alcohol-based mouth rinses
  • hot foods and beverages
  • cold foods and beverages
  • cold air exposure
  • sweet foods and beverages
  • acidic foods and beverages
  • cold water like one used for dental cleaning
  • brushing or flossing teeth
  • brushing teeth too hard
  • using a hard toothbrush
  • grinding teeth at night

How to take care of tooth sensitivity issue?

  • Use desensitizing toothpaste : These special toothpastes contain compounds that help to block transmission of sensation to nerve. Most desensitizing toothpastes numbs the nerve inside. It takes few days to bring down sensitivity using desensitizing toothpaste
  • Crown inlay or bonding: Correcting a flaw or decay – done by dentist
  • Gum graft: This is done surgically. If gum tissue lost from the root, grafting gum tissue protects the root and reduces sensitivity
  • Root canal: To eliminate problem of sensitivity based on severity of the issue, dentist may suggest root canal.
  • Applying sealants or desensitizing and filling materials including fluoride helpful for this issue.
  • Decrease intake of acid food.
  • Use alcohol free mouth wash
  • Eat sweet, acidic foods any with full meal.
  • Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain and sensitivity
  • Avoid hard-bristled toothbrush and brushing hard.
  • If you are thinking about bleaching teeth, talk to your dentist first about sensitivity.
  • Change your tooth brush at least once in two months.

If the problem persists, talk to your dentist and get it checked.


Image credit: Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay 

Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: November 2, 2022

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