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Do you experience tooth sensitivity?

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Do you experience tooth sensitivity?

Can you bite into ice-cream or do you have to lick it?

Anyone who suffers from tooth sensitivity can relate to the sudden and sharp pain elicited from biting too carelessly into an ice cream. Pain from tooth sensitivity can strike while casually enjoying an ice cream in the heat of the summer or munching through popcorn while watching the latest episode of their favourite box set. One out of eight of us might be experiencing tooth sensitivity at any given time. It’s frustrating, painful and can sometimes make one feel helpless, and hopeless.

Tooth sensitivity can be inherited, but can also be an early warning sign of more serious dental problems, for example a cracked tooth or filling. A crack can run from the biting surface of a tooth down towards the nerve and extreme temperatures, especially cold, may cause discomfort.

Here are some causes of tooth sensitivity:

Gum Recession: Sensitive teeth can be caused by a number of different things. One common reason is due to gum recession so that the roots become exposed and they can be more sensitive. Root surfaces do not have an enamel layer to protect them.

Dentine Exposure: The part of the tooth we can see is covered by a layer of enamel that protects the softer dentine underneath. If the dentine is exposed, a tooth can become sensitive. This usually happens where the tooth and the gum meet and the enamel layer is much thinner. This could be due to brushing too hard, or chipping away at the gumline due to clenching hard, see below regarding bruxism.

Tooth Grinding (bruxism): Some people have habit of clenching or grinding the teeth together. This can wear away the hard outer enamel, causing the inner soft dentine to be exposed and the teeth more susceptible to get sensitive. The soft dentine also gets worn away more quickly than enamel does, and can cause great changes in sensitivity within a short time.

How can I prevent sensitive teeth?

  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods as well as fizzy or acidic drinks.

  • If you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about the possibility of having a mouthguard made to wear at night.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste; use small circular movements with a soft toothbrush; avoid scrubbing your teeth from side to side.

  • Another tip, is to soak the toothbrush bristles in warm water for around 30-60 seconds prior to brushing, and to brush the biting surfaces of the teeth first; it helsp to "soften" the bristles further!

  • When using an electric toothbrush, be mindful to use less pressure as it is easy to press too hard when using an electric toothbrush, and they can be rather powerful!

  • Visit your dentist for a check-up every 6-12 months or as your dentist advises.

We are here to help identify the cause of your dental pain, provide you with professional advice on how to care for your teeth and recommend the best treatment options. Book an appointment today or call us at 02085632864.


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