Teeth sensitivity is among the most common dental problems experienced by members of the public, but it remains extremely unpleasant. The condition sees patients experience discomfort in their pearly whites caused by the consumption of hot, cold or sweet food and drinks.
Many people will find they feel nothing more than a light twinge in their tooth when suffering from this problem, but others will experience a sharp shooting pain that can last for a number of hours and could require treatment from a dental professional.
In most cases, this condition arises when receding gum tissue exposes the underlying layer of the pearly whites, which – when exposed to hot, cold or sweet substances – touches the nerves in the tooth and causes discomfort and pain.
There are a number of issues that can lead to this issue, including:
Although sensitive teeth can be a problem for individuals of varying ages, it is more common among those between the 20 and 40 years old, while women are said to be at a higher risk of falling victim to the ailment than their male counterparts.
Tooth sensitivity can be diagnosed by a dental professional during a regular check-up through the examination of pearly whites for any signs of tooth decay and gum disease. During this assessment, a dentist will check for exposed roots using a metal instrument and determine if a root canal procedure can be carried out to resolve the issue.
Finding a solution for the issue of tooth sensitivity is largely dependent on the cause and extent of the issue. However, there are a number of courses of action that can be taken to prevent the problem from worsening.
Individuals who are suffering from sensitive teeth as a result of a new amalgam filling will often find the feeling naturally ease after a few weeks, but those with persistent signs are urged to visit their dentist and ask for the installation to be polished to resolve the issue.
Similarly, if the problem is caused by teeth grinding, a specialist is likely to investigate different methods that can be used to treat the original problem – with the feelings of sensitivity likely to disappear as the main problem is treated.
Although it is extremely common among individuals of all ages, this issue is one that can be easily prevented with just a few simple steps that can be carried out without assistance from a professional.
Good oral hygiene – Individuals who brush and floss their teeth every day, while ensuring they clean all areas of their teeth and mouth evenly, are usually at a reduced risk of developing the problem.
However, these people are advised to use their toothbrushes gently – particularly around the gum line – to prevent the onset of sensitivity. An effective way of checking the effectiveness of this technique is to consult the bristles of the implement after use – if they are pointing in different directions, it is possible the owner is applying too much pressure.
Changing diet – By cutting down on highly acidic food such as citrus fruits, patients may find they can enjoy many of their favourite foods without any pain. Similarly, people who do drink citric juices should use a straw to limit the exposure of the teeth to the liquid.
Additionally, reducing the intake of sugary foods and fizzy drinks can also assist in limiting the risk of developing this issue.
Change toothbrush – A soft-bristled toothbrush is far less likely to remove protective enamel from the teeth, while changing the implement once every three months can improve overall oral hygiene.
Use a mouth guard – For many, teeth sensitivity can develop due to bruxism – so these individuals are advised to use such an appliance to control these actions when they are asleep.
Patients who are considering improving the appearance of their smile through a teeth whitening procedure should discuss the possibility they will develop the problem with a dental professional, who will prepare them for the sensitivity and offer advice.
Similarly, members of the public who wish to prevent the onset of this issue could ask their dentist to recommend an effective fluoride mouth rinse that they can use at home to strengthen their pearly whites.
In most cases, tooth sensitivity can be prevented by following an effective oral hygiene routine that is carried out on a daily basis. Doing so can mean individuals are free from a wide selection of ailments and enjoy a bright, white smile for as long as possible.
Symptoms of this common problem can often be alleviated by acknowledging the source of the sensitivity.