Man with sensitive teeth touching his cheek

Understanding Sensitive Teeth: Effective Treatments and Relief Options

Do you cringe at the thought of eating ice cream or drinking a hot beverage due to tooth sensitivity? You’re not alone. Many people suffer from the discomfort of sensitive teeth, which can make everyday activities challenging and impact overall well-being. But fear not! Today, we’ll delve into the world of sensitive teeth, answering common questions and understanding sensitive teeth that can help you bid farewell to this painful condition.

Understanding the Reasons Behind Sensitive Teeth

If you’ve recently developed sensitive teeth or have been dealing with it for a while, understanding the possible causes is crucial. Tooth sensitivity can stem from various factors, including the erosion of tooth enamel, tooth decay, gum disease, cracked teeth, receding gums, and tooth grinding. These common conditions can expose sensitive areas of your teeth, leading to discomfort and pain.

  • Erosion of tooth enamel: The protective outer layer of your teeth – called enamel – can erode over time due to factors such as aggressive brushing, acidic foods and beverages, or teeth grinding. When this happens, the layer underneath becomes exposed, causing sensitive teeth.
  • Tooth decay: Cavities or dental caries can expose the sensitive inner layers of the tooth, leading to sensitivity.
  • Gum disease: Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease can cause gum recession, which leads to tooth roots becoming exposed. This can cause sensitive teeth, as well as inflamed and sensitive gums.
  • Cracked teeth: If your tooth has cracks or fractures, these can allow substances to penetrate the tooth and reach the nerves, causing tooth sensitivity.
  • Receding gums: Gum disease, poor brushing techniques and ageing can all cause your gums to recede, exposing the tooth root and leading to sensitivity.
  • Tooth grinding: Regular or habitual grinding or clenching of the teeth and jaw, known as bruxism, can wear down the enamel and expose the sensitive layers of the tooth.
  • Post-dental treatment: After a dental procedure such as a filling, crown or professional teeth whitening, your teeth and gums may become temporarily sensitive. However, this type of sensitivity won’t last long.

When Should You Be Concerned?

While sensitive teeth are a common issue, it’s essential not to dismiss them, as they can sometimes indicate underlying dental problems that require attention. If you experience persistent or severe tooth sensitivity, it’s advisable to consult your dentist. Additionally, certain symptoms, such as:

  • Ongoing pain: If your tooth sensitivity lasts for an extended period or the pain becomes increasingly severe, it may indicate a more serious problem that needs attention.
  • Swelling or infection: Swollen gums, pus around a tooth, or a persistent bad taste in the mouth can indicate an infection that needs immediate dental care.
  • Tooth discolouration: Discolouration in your teeth, especially a darkening of the tooth, may suggest a more significant problem such as tooth decay or nerve damage.

At what age does tooth sensitivity start?

While sensitive teeth can strike people of all ages, it’s more common in adults. This is because our tooth enamel naturally wears down as we age, while gum recession becomes more prevalent – both of which increase the likelihood of sensitive teeth.

This makes it all the more important to practise good oral hygiene at every stage of your life, so you can reduce your chances of developing sensitive teeth.

Effective Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

The good news is that there are several treatments available to alleviate tooth sensitivity. The appropriate course of action depends on the underlying cause. Here are some commonly recommended options:

  • Desensitising toothpaste: Using toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth can gradually provide relief by blocking nerve signals.
  • Fluoride application: Your dentist may apply fluoride varnishes or gels to strengthen the enamel and reduce sensitivity, providing protection against temperature changes and acidic substances.
  • Dental sealants: If exposed tooth roots are the culprits behind your sensitivity, dental sealants can be applied to cover the exposed surfaces, creating a protective barrier against sensitivity triggers.
  • Dental restorations: Decay or damaged fillings may contribute to sensitivity. In such cases, your dentist may need to remove the decay and replace it with a dental filling or crown to restore the tooth’s structure and eliminate sensitivity.
  • Gum grafting: When receding gums are the cause, a gum grafting procedure may be recommended. This involves taking tissue from another part of the mouth and attaching it to the affected area, covering the exposed roots and reducing sensitivity.
  • Dental bonding: Bonding materials can be applied by your dentist to cover exposed dentin, reducing sensitivity and enhancing the appearance of your teeth.
  • Treating underlying conditions: If your sensitivity is a result of gum disease or tooth grinding, addressing and managing these conditions can alleviate sensitivity.

Seeking professional guidance from your dentist is essential to identify the cause of your sensitive teeth and develop an effective treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Managing Sensitive Teeth at Home

For mild tooth sensitivity, there are steps you can take at home to manage the issue:

  • Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush, and consider rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash to strengthen enamel.
  • Avoid High Acid Food & Drink: Minimise your consumption of acidic foods and beverages, as they can erode tooth enamel.
  • Use a mouthguard: If tooth grinding or clenching is causing your sensitivity, wearing a mouthguard while you sleep can help address the issue.
  • Avoid non-professional teeth whitening products: Be cautious of non-professional teeth whitening products, as they may contain ingredients that can cause sensitivity.

Is Tooth Sensitivity Permanent?

In many cases, sensitive teeth treatments can eliminate or reduce sensitivity. However, it’s crucial to identify the underlying cause with the help of a dentist. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend suitable treatments for long-term relief.

Your dentist is your best resource when it comes to addressing sensitive teeth. They can diagnose the cause, assess any underlying issues, and guide you towards the most suitable treatment options. If you’re concerned about sensitive teeth, don’t hesitate to Contact Kooringal dental today.


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