Tooth sensitivity is the pain you may feel when consuming hot or cold drinks and food. Some people can also feel sensitivity from breathing in cold air. The most common areas for tooth sensitivity is where there has been some gingival recession (gums pulling away from the teeth).
If gingival recession occurs this allows the root surface of the tooth underneath the gum to then become exposed. The root surface consists of microscopic tubules containing fluid that flows from the root surface to the pulp (nerve centre). When heat or cold touches these exposed tubules the tooth fluid can irritate the nerve therefore causing tooth sensitivity. If the outer surface of the tooth (enamel) is worn away this can also cause sensitivity.
Factors contributing to tooth sensitivity
- Using a hard bristle toothbrush and applying too much pressure may lead to gum loss.
- Sugary and acidic food or drinks like soft drink, fruit juice, and sugary snacks can lead to cavities and / or tooth erosion, which may cause sensitivity.
- Clenching and grinding can wear down the teeth.
- Some dental treatments such as tooth whitening or cleaning of teeth can cause temporary tooth sensitivity.
- Periodontal disease (gum disease)
Factors to help prevent tooth sensitivity
- Cleaning all areas of your mouth including between your teeth and at the gum line. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is recommended.
- Use a soft bristle brush and to brush gently to minimise risk of gum recession and to help protect the enamel from being worn away.
- Avoid or minimise exposure to acidic food and/or drinks.
- Wear a night guard or Somnomed device (snoring appliance) to avoid the pressures on the teeth from clenching/grinding.
Management of tooth sensitivity
If experiencing tooth sensitivity it is important to discuss with Chris, Lina, Kirsty or Stami, so they can determine if there are any other factors contributing to the sensitivity.
We can then recommend the most appropriate treatment to manage your tooth sensitivity.
There are a range of treatments available including rinses, pastes, varnish and other topical agents to help alleviate the symptoms of sensitivity.