Does this scenario sound familiar – you take a sip of your favourite hot or cold beverage only to experience sudden shooting pain in your teeth? If you’ve went through an episode like that, you probably have sensitive teeth.
Tooth sensitivity can be very, very unpleasant. It can even affect your life quality, limiting the types of foods and beverages you can enjoy without worrying about pain.
While most people are aware of common medical problems, sensitivity often remains misunderstood. And that’s a weird phenomenon, taking in consideration the fact that one in eight adults will suffer from sensitivity in their lifetime (some statistics go as high as one in two people!).
So, what exactly is sensitivity and could you do anything to avoid that issue?
Is it possible to bite into a crunchy apple or enjoy an ice-cold drink without pain? The short answer is yes. Here’s the longer explanation.
What Is Tooth Sensitivity?
Also called dental hypersensitivity or root sensitivity, tooth sensitivity is a condition that causes unpleasant sensations or even pain when teeth come in contact with foods that are too hot, too cold or acidic. In some instances, a sharp intake of cold air will also be enough to trigger the sensitivity.
The causes of sensitive teeth can be several.
Some people naturally have more sensitive teeth that are susceptible to external influences. In other instances, sensitivity may be a sign of a problem.
Tooth sensitivity can often occur as a result of recessed gums and periodontal disease, tooth decay or even chipped teeth. There’s also evidence that some problems like acid reflux that make stomach acid go back up could also contribute to pain in the teeth (by eroding the enamel).
Finally, sensitivity could occur as a result of improper brushing technique or using the wrong toothbrush. If you brush too hard or your brush is very stiff, you can damage the enamel and experience some pain.
The Number One Step for Overcoming Tooth Sensitivity
Do you know what the number one thing to do if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity is?
You’ve probably guessed already – go see your dentist!
Simply assuming that sensitivity is occurring out of the blue and will always be there could keep another serious issue undiagnosed. Also, it’s not true you can’t do anything about it. You don’t have to suffer from aches your entire life, even if there isn’t a medical problem causing pain.
Your dentist will check out your teeth to make sure there’s no damage or a problem contributing to pain. Once all possible causes are ruled out, you will come up with a strategy for the management of the problem.
Best Ways to Overcome Tooth Sensitivity
If possible, the issue that’s causing tooth sensitivity will be addressed. That’s one of the best ways to get rid of the pain once and for all.
Also, your dentist could recommend a change in your brushing technique. Being gentler and using a softer brush will quickly contribute to the rapid improvement of your mouth’s condition.
Toothpastes made for people with sensitive teeth do exist on the market. Some of these products are more effective than others, which is why your dentist will recommend one product or another.
A few other strategies that could be recommended include the following:
- Deal with stress-related tooth grinding: do you tend to clench your jaw when you’re stressed out or nervous? Clenching and tooth grinding both damage the enamel easily. The problem here is that such behaviours tend to be automatic. Trying to gain some awareness and observing your reactions will be very important to find out if you’re causing your smile some damage without even realising it.
- Avoid acidic foods and beverages: at least for a certain period of time. Soda, sugary drinks, sticky foods and acidic foods can all aggravate sensitivity. If you need a snack, go for fruits, veggies, plain yogurt or even some cheese.
- Slow down with whitening a bit: most dentists will recommend avoiding procedures like whitening while you’re dealing with sensitivity. Many people will experience some temporary sensitivity after getting their pearlies whitened. Still, if you already deal with pain, address that before moving on to a whitening procedure.
- Take proper care of your teeth: regular brushing, flossing and eating a balanced diet are all important to keep your enamel intact and make sure your teeth are healthy.
Other Options Exist, As Well!
If sensitivity is severe and it’s not being helped by any of the tips mentioned above, there could be some other possibilities to explore.
Veneers can be used to cover exposed and sensitive root surfaces. Thus, veneers aren’t preferred just for aesthetics. They could actually make your teeth and gums healthier, getting rid of the pain once and for all.
In more severe instances, dentists may have to perform a surgical gum graft. This procedure isn’t needed by the vast majority of people who experience sensitive teeth. It will solely be recommended in instances when a lot of the root is exposed due to gum disease and the pain is becoming severe.
Don’t Just Live a Sensitive Life
Tooth sensitivity isn’t a given and something you should put up with.
The condition can be overcome and in most instances, the solution is very, very simple.
If you’re interested in making the first step towards kicking sensitivity to the curb, get in touch with the Orchard Scotts Dental Team and book your appointment. We’ll quickly diagnose your mouth and give you professional opinions on your options for dealing with your tooth sensitivity issues. Check out our signature services here.
You can also check out our Facebook publications on the topic and join the discussion about sensitive teeth.
Call us at 6732 9939