With the sun shining, there is nothing better than enjoying an ice cream or two, whether at the beach, on a day out or a home in the garden. However, if you suffer with sensitive teeth an ice cream can very quickly lose its appeal.
In this month’s blog the team at College Dental Surgeries look at the causes and treatments of sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth affect most people at some point over the course of their life and may cause a mild twinge or severe discomfort. Our teeth are covered with a strong layer of enamel which protects the softer dentine below. If the enamel becomes damaged or wears away the dentine can become exposed and this can lead the tooth to be sensitive.
Causes of sensitivity include:
- Toothbrush abrasion – brushing too hard can cause the enamel to be worn away, exposing the sensitive dentine.
- Dental erosion – the acid in our diet can attack teeth over time and cause the enamel to be lost, exposing the sensitive dentine.
- Gum recession – gums may naturally shrink back, exposing the roots of the teeth. Root surfaces do not have a layer of enamel to protect them so can be sensitive.
- Gum disease – a build-up of plaque or tartar can cause the gums to recede and pockets to form around the roots of teeth, exposing sensitive roots
- Tooth grinding – Over time tooth grinding can wear away the enamel making teeth sensitive
- A cracked tooth or filling – Any damage to a tooth that exposes the dentine, or the roots can lead to sensitivity.
- Teeth whitening– Teeth whitening can cause sensitivity but it should resolve within 3-4 days of finishing treatment.
You may notice sensitivity when you eat or drink something cold or from cold air catching your teeth. If you have tried treating your sensitive teeth for a few weeks and have no improvements, you should attend your dentist who will be able to find the source of the sensitivity and offer treatment.
Prior to any treatment the dentist will perform a full assessment of your teeth and gums to determine the best way of treating any sensitivity. It may be possible to apply fluoride gels, rinses and varnishes to the teeth to help build protection. As well as building teeth up with composite fillings to help seal teeth. In serious cases it may be necessary to perform root canal treatment. This removes the nerve from the tooth ensuring you will not feel any sensitivity.
Protect your teeth from sensitivity
- Use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
- Change your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles become worn
- Don’t brush your teeth straight after eating – some foods and drinks can soften the enamel so leave it an hour before you brush.
- Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks to mealtimes
- If you grind your teeth, consider wearing a mouth guard to help protect your teeth.
- Visit your dental team as often as they recommend
If you would like to find out more about what may be causing your sensitive teeth and how to treat them, do not hesitate to call College Dental Surgeries on 01622 752340 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.