Sensitive teeth

What is sensitivity in the teeth?

Sensitive teeth can be described as an ache, sensitivity to heat, or a sharp pain in the tooth. This is typically not a cause for concern, however, if this is a persistent problem, contact your dentist and make an appointment to assess and discuss treatment.

What causes sensitive teeth?

Sensitive teeth can be caused by a variety of factors, but the following are the most commonly occurring reasons for tooth sensitivity:
  • Decay in the tooth
  • Cracks, chips, or a broken tooth.
  • Teeth grinding (Bruxism)
  • Dental work that has failed, i.e. crowns and fillings.
  • Teeth whitening
  • Faceting of the teeth near the gum margins, caused by aggressive toothbrushing.
  • Gum disease can cause recession of the gums, leaving the root of the tooth exposed where the enamel is typically thinner.

How to prevent sensitive teeth?

To reduce the likelihood of experiencing a sensitive tooth, we suggest using the following guidance:
  • Maintain your oral hygiene, brushing twice a day for 2 minutes.
  • Flossing prior to brushing your teeth and after eating.
  • Attending appointments with your dentist regularly.
  • Attending the dentist if you have concerns about decay or damage to a tooth.
  • Avoiding hard bristled toothbrushes, opt for a medium bristle instead. Replace every 2-3 months.
  • Avoid eating highly acidic food and drinks.

How to treat sensitive teeth?

Treating tooth sensitivity will depend on the cause of the sensitivity. Should a tooth have damage like a break, crack or chip your dentist may suggest a reconstructive treatment. Alternatively, your dentist may suggest de-sensitising products like toothpaste, topical creams, gels, and mouthwashes. Switching your hard-bristled toothbrush to a softer bristle will help, gently brush the teeth to avoid excessive erosion on the enamel.

How do you spot sensitive teeth/symptoms?

Sensitive teeth are typically not a visual problem, however, if you have a broken filling, malfunctioning crown or a chip, break, or crack it’s likely you will both see and feel it. Other symptoms include sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks, sensitivity to acidic food and drinks, and sharp or dull aches within the tooth.

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