Sensitive Teeth: What Treatments Are Available?
Suffer from sensitive teeth? You’re not alone…
Whether you’ve always suffered from sensitivity, have teeth that are sensitive to the cold, or are suddenly experiencing sensitive teeth out of the blue, you’ll know this “ouch-inducing” condition can cause a whole lot of pain and discomfort.
Sensitive teeth and gums can make it challenging to perform everyday activities such as eating and drinking, and can also have an impact on your overall well being - which is why it’s important to find the right sensitive teeth treatment for you.
In this article, we’re answering some commonly asked questions about sensitive teeth, as well as exploring sensitive teeth treatments that can help you get rid of this uncomfortable condition once and for all.
What are the Reasons for Sensitive Teeth?
You might be wondering why you suddenly have sensitive teeth - or perhaps you’ve been experiencing sensitivity for a while and are keen to understand the possible causes.
Sensitive teeth can be caused by a range of factors, including tooth decay, cracks in the tooth, and teeth grinding. The following are some of the common causes of teeth and gum sensitivity:
- 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.
Should I Worry About Sensitive Teeth?
So, how do you know if your tooth sensitivity is serious? Although sensitive teeth are common, it’s important not to ignore sensitivity, as it can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying condition that needs to be addressed.
If you experience persistent or severe tooth sensitivity, it’s advisable to make an appointment to see your dentist. They’ll be able to identify the cause of your sensitivity and recommend the best sensitive teeth treatment.
In particular, you should see your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following in conjunction with sensitive teeth:
- 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.
How Do You Fix Sensitive Teeth?
The treatment options for sensitive teeth typically depend on the underlying cause. Here are some effective ways to fix sensitive teeth:
- Desensitising toothpaste: Use a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes contain ingredients that help block nerve signals, providing relief from sensitivity over time.
- Fluoride application: Your dentist may apply fluoride varnishes or gels to strengthen the enamel and reduce sensitivity. This helps to protect the teeth from temperature changes and acidic substances.
- Dental sealants: If the sensitivity is due to exposed tooth roots, your dentist may apply dental sealants to cover the exposed surfaces and provide a protective barrier against sensitivity triggers.
- Dental restorations: If decay or damaged fillings are causing sensitivity, your dentist may need to remove the decay and replace it with a dental filling or crown, restoring the tooth's structure and eliminating sensitivity.
- Gum grafting: In cases where receding gums contribute to sensitivity, a gum grafting procedure may be recommended. This involves taking tissue from another area of the mouth and attaching it to the affected area, covering the exposed roots and reducing sensitivity.
- Dental bonding: Your dentist may apply a bonding material to cover areas of exposed dentin, reducing sensitivity and improving the appearance of the teeth.
- Treating underlying conditions: If tooth sensitivity is a result of an underlying dental condition, such as gum disease or tooth grinding, treating and managing those conditions can help 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.
How Can I Get Rid of Sensitive Teeth at Home?
If you experience mild tooth sensitivity and are looking for home remedies to manage your sensitive teeth, consider the following:
Practise good oral hygiene: Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid aggressive brushing which can erode tooth enamel. You may also want to rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to strengthen enamel.
Limit acidic foods and drinks: Acidic foods and beverages such as soft drinks, juice, and citrus fruits can erode tooth enamel, so it’s best to minimise your consumption of these.
Use a mouthguard: If your sensitive teeth are caused by teeth grinding or clenching, wearing a mouthguard while you sleep can help to address this issue.
Avoid non-professional teeth whitening products: Non-professional teeth whitening products such as those sold online may contain harmful ingredients that cause sensitive teeth.
Does teeth sensitivity go away?
In many cases, sensitive teeth treatments can help you eliminate or reduce your teeth sensitivity. However, it’s important to identify the underlying cause of your sensitive teeth, so pay a visit to your local National Dental Care Group dentist if you’re experiencing this issue.
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.
Your dentist is the best person to speak to about your sensitive teeth - they can identify the cause, assess any underlying issues, and help you choose a sensitive teeth treatment that’s right for you.
If you’re concerned about sensitive teeth, make an appointment at your local National Dental Care or DB Dental practice today.