Sensitive teeth

Having sensitive teeth is the most common pain condition of the facial area. Under the tooth enamel is the dentin. There are tiny fluid-filled channels in the dentin, called dentinal tubules, connected to the innervation of the pulp. Movement of fluid in the channel causes the stinging sensation.

What causes sensitive teeth?

The feeling of sensitivity can be caused by hot, cold, sweet, sour and touch. Normally, the dental enamel protects and covers the dentin and dentinal tubules in the crown region. A healthy gum, on the other hand, protects the dentin of the neck of tooth and root. The tubules can be exposed due to a variety of reasons, exposing the tooth to sensitivity.

Excessive force in brushing one’s teeth is the most common cause of sensitive teeth; it makes the gums recede. A receded gum does not cover the neck of tooth, which can then become sensitive to cold, for instance. Microscopic cracks in the teeth are also common causes of sensitive teeth. Erosion, i.e. dissolution of the surface of the tooth due to e.g. gastric acid or acidic soft drinks may expose the dentinal tubules. In addition, wearing due to grinding one’s teeth may predispose to sensitive teeth.

It is important to remember that sensitive teeth are a common symptom of caries in the teeth. Also, an early inflammation of the pulp may cause sensitive teeth. A loose or chipped filling may also be the cause of sensitive teeth. A recently filled tooth is often sensitive at first. However, if you have sensitive teeth for longer than a few weeks, you should see your dentist. It is always a good idea to find out the reason of sensitive teeth.

How can I prevent sensitive teeth?

Proper home care is the most important thing in preventing sensitive teeth. The teeth should be brushed with a small, soft brush using back-and-forth strokes. Excessive force should be avoided in order to prevent the gums from receding. An electric toothbrush is a very handy aid in thoroughly and gently cleaning one’s teeth. An acid attack that softens the dental enamel is going on immediately after eating. To avoid damaging the enamel, teeth should not be brushed immediately after a meal.

It is a good idea to pay attention to one’s diet in preventing sensitive teeth. All acidic foods and drinks corrode and make sensitive the surface of the teeth. Juice, soft drinks and sports drinks are harmful to teeth and should only be drunk in limited quantities with meals.

Toothpastes meant to ease the pain cover dentinal tubules that are already exposed. In more severe cases, sensitive necks of teeth can be covered also by a dentist.





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