What is Sensitive Teeth?
Sensitive teeth is a condition where your teeth have a high level of sensitivity to foods or drinks consumed. In general, sensitive teeth cause pain and tenderness. In some cases, your gums may become painful.
Sensitive teeth are common and can happen to anyone. Teeth sensitivity is more common in the age range of 20 to 40. Older adults over 70 years may also experience sensitive teeth.
In general, women are more likely to experience sensitive teeth than men.
Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth can be caused by the erosion of the outer layer of your tooth or the enamel. The enamel is the hard, outer layer of the tooth that protects it. Although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, even stronger than bone, it can break easily.
Enamel acts as a dentin protector. If you have enamel erosion or damage, then there is no longer a layer to protect the dentin. If there is exposure to tooth nerve fibers with food or drink you consume, this can cause tooth pain or aches.
Some activities that can trigger toothache include:
- Eating foods or drinks that are too hot or cold
- Eating foods or drinks that are too sour or sweet
- Using mouthwash that contains alcohol
- Flossing your teeth
- Getting exposure to cold air
- Biting an ice cube
Dental health problems
Apart from thin enamel, sensitive teeth can also be caused by several dental conditions that cause the dentin to become exposed, such as cavities, tooth decay, and receding gums that leave your teeth unprotected and at a higher risk for issues.
Sensitive teeth can also be caused by acid reflux disease or GERD. Gastric acid can erode tooth enamel if it flows back up into the esophagus and occurs over a long period of time.
Not only can GERD cause sensitive teeth, but also gastroparesis and eating disorders such as bulimia.
Some medical procedures, although relatively safe, can also cause sensitive teeth. Teeth whitening procedures can too iincrease tooth sensitivity
However, the effect on your teeth usually lasts only for a few days.
When to See a Doctor for Sensitive Teeth
If you constantly experience tooth pain, you should seek immediate medical assistance. Your doctor will examine your oral health and ask about your oral hygiene habits.
Your doctor will also pinpoint sensitive spots on your teeth that can potentially cause tooth pain. If necessary, your doctor will likely recommend a dental x-ray and lab tests to determine the cause of sensitive teeth.
Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth
Symptoms of sensitive teeth may start with frequent tooth pain or gum pain. In some cases, you may also experience drooping of the gums.
Sensitive teeth symptoms can range from mild to severe. The symptoms may come and go for no apparent reasons.
Treatment for Sensitive Teeth
Your doctor will likely prescribe a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth. The toothpaste contains potassium nitrate or strontium chloride.
Potassium nitrate or strontium chloride protects the nervous system in teeth and helps block pain signals. If used regularly, the tooth pain can gradually improve.
If the teeth condition does not improve, your doctor may apply a special gel to the layer of your teeth to reduce pain due to sensitive teeth. These gels generally contain fluoride, a type of mineral that strengthens the lining of your teeth and prevents cavities.
In some cases, sensitive teeth can cause damage to the root of the tooth. If this happens, your doctor may coat the binder resin on the damaged tooth.
In addition, gum surgery may be suggested if necessary. Gum surgery can protect the root of the tooth and reduce the teeth sensitivity. In more severe cases, root canal treatment may be another treatment option
If sensitive teeth are caused by another medical condition such as GERD or bulimia, your doctor will likely treat the underlying condition first to prevent any further enamel damage. GERD can be treated with medications, while bulimia can be treated with psychotherapy.
Treatment Cost for Sensitive Teeth
Treatment cost for sensitive teeth can vary greatly, depending on the frequency of dental visits, the severity of sensitive teeth, and other dental procedures required.
For more details regarding the estimated treatment cost for sensitive teeth, hospital recommendations, and making appointments with doctors at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Sensitive Teeth
To prevent sensitive teeth, you should check your teeth regularly, at least once every six months. This is useful for monitoring the condition of your oral health and providing early treatment before decay becomes worse.
If you are planning to get teeth whitening or bleaching procedures, you should consult with your dentist first.
Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth
There are several practices you can engage in from home to prevent or treat sensitive teeth, particularly in terms of dental care, such as:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, in the morning and evening.
- Brush your teeth gently in a circular motion.
- Floss your teeth regularly
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush
- Choose and use toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps protect and maintain tooth enamel.
- Avoid consuming foods and beverages that are too hot, too cold or too acidic.
- Avoid drinking cold beverages right after eating hot foods or vice versa
- If you experience bruxism or a tendency to grind or clench your teeth, be sure to consult your dentist to get the appropriate treatment.