Managing And Treating Sensitive Teeth

Tips on easing discomfort and treatments that can help.

Sensitive teethDeep within the root canals of our teeth are the nerves and it is these which send signals to our brain when we have a toothache or simply let us know if we are biting down on something too hard. These are important warning signals that tell us that something is wrong and that we need to take action, whether that is to reduce the strength of our bite or to make an appointment to see a dentist as soon as we can.

Whilst a bad toothache might be dealt with relatively quickly through professional dental treatment, there are some sensations we may consider are not severe enough to see a dentist about. One of these is when we have sensitive teeth that may cause us problems when we eat or drink something hot or cold.

Causes of sensitive teeth

At the AJ Dental Group in Woking, we believe that any type of pain or discomfort should be examined as soon as possible, simply because even minor pain can progress and get a lot worse. There can be a number of possible causes for sensitive teeth, especially if it comes on suddenly. One reason is that you may have cracked or chipped a tooth without even realising it. This means that the extremes of temperatures reach below the enamel into the more porous dentin layer of the tooth. This semi porous section allows the temperature to reach the nerves, triggering the unpleasant sensation that people with sensitive teeth will be all too familiar with.

Another common reason for sensitive teeth is due to enamel wear on the surface of the teeth. This can be caused by a number of things including excessive brushing and poor diet, especially when the teeth are exposed to high sugar and acidic food and drinks, along with other issues such as teeth grinding and some eating disorders. Whatever the cause though, it can be very unpleasant and most patients will want to reduce the level of discomfort that they feel.

Reducing sensitivity

There are two ways that you can improve your comfort level and reduce tooth sensitivity. The first is management and the second, treatment. We will start by looking at some changes that you can make yourself to improve the situation.

Avoid hot and cold drinks

Simply by allowing your hot cup of tea or favourite food to cool down a little before consumption, you can make the whole eating/drinking process much more comfortable. The same applies to colder foods too, allowing them to warm up towards room temperature. Of course this is not possible for products like ice cream and so these may need to be avoided altogether.

Avoid acidic drinks

You may already have damaged the enamel on your teeth by drinking too many acidic drinks but there is little point in making the situation worse. Stick to water as much as possible for rehydration purposes and avoid products such as ‘energy drinks’ altogether.

Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth

There are now some good toothpastes designed for this purpose widely available. These work in a couple of different ways, actually soothing exposed nerves inside the tooth and also by building a layer over the exposed dentin layer.

Restoration of sensitive teeth

However much you try to manage the problem, it will not go away completely unless you have the tooth treated. There are a number of procedures that can be used depending on the cause of the problem. Our Woking dental team will provide a thorough examination and suggest a treatment plan to restore your teeth as effectively as possible.

Amongst the treatments that may be suggested are:

Fillings – Where the sensitivity is caused by a chip or crack in the tooth, this needs to be addressed by the dentist. In some situations this might be done using cosmetic bonding. This is a non invasive method that may be ideal for where very minor damage has occurred.  Where the damage is more significant, we may use our tooth coloured filling material to restore the tooth.

Crowns – Where a tooth has broken or the structure of the tooth has become compromised and may be damaged further, a dental crown is often an effective way of restoring both appearance and strength to a damaged tooth. This does require a more invasive procedure but the results can be very effective and last for many years.

Veneers

Especially where enamel erosion is the cause, dental veneers are a very effective way of restoring your teeth to a healthier state. Most enamel wear occurs on the front surface of the front teeth where acidic drinks pass over or where we brush too hard. We can remove a very fine surface layer from the affected teeth and replace it with our high quality porcelain veneers. Not only can these protect your teeth from sensitivity but also provide a great cosmetic contribution to a whiter, straighter smile.

Tooth sensitivity might seem a relatively minor dental issue but it can be very uncomfortable for the patient concerned. Both cracked and worn enamel also means that further damage is possible and therefore, even minor sensitivity should not be ignored.

If you have sensitive teeth, we recommend having this checked by a dentist to determine the cause and provide treatment. If you would like to make an appointment with the AJ Dental Group, please call our reception team today on 01483 766355 (Parkside practice) or 01932 352333 (Waterside Practice).

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