Do you have sensitive teeth?
Irritated nerves are what give us the feelings of sensitivity in our teeth. This can be caused by a number of things, but most often it is because of decay or gum recession.
When hot, cold, or sweet substances touch a tooth that has exposed roots, the nerves are stimulated or irritated, causing pain.
Gum recession and tooth decay allow access to the nerves within a tooth in different ways. Gum recession causes irritation of the nerves through tiny tubes in the root of the tooth. These tubes expand when stimulated and put pressure on the nerves.
Decay is the more common cause of sensitivity for most people. Cavities caused by bacteria form holes in the protective layer of the tooth called the enamel. If they are not caught soon enough these cavities grow into the dentin and finally to the center of the tooth called the pulp. The pulp is where the nerves of the tooth are found, therefore exposing them to hot, cold, or sweet stimulus causes irritation.
Treating Sensitive Teeth
Your dentist can help with both gum recession and tooth decay. Decay can usually be stopped by a simple filling or inlay. Your dentist will remove any decayed material and repair the tooth with composite filling material or with a ceramic inlay.
Gum recession is also treatable. Modern dental techniques have brought us procedures like gum grafting and Alloderm. Gum grafting uses the patient’s own tissue from another area of the mouth to rebuild the gums. Alloderm is used to stimulate the growth of existing tissue. Either of these methods cover the exposed roots and restore the gum line.
Caring for Your Tooth Enamel
Your tooth enamel protects your nerve endings. When these nerve endings are exposed, you may experience heightened tooth sensitivity. You can protect and prevent your tooth enamel from wearing away with the help of these home care tips:
- Wait before brushing after meals. Your tooth enamel is at their most vulnerable after eating. Please wait at least an hour before brushing. Rinse with water or chew sugarless gums in the meantime.
- Be sure to brush gently. Target food debris and not your tooth enamel. Brush with gentle hands. Scrubbing hard side-to-side against your gum line may cause your enamel to corrode.
- Snack on fibre-rich food. Refrain from consuming acidic food and drinks. Substitute high-carb food with fibre-rich ones instead such as milk and cheese. Fruits such as apples also work great in encouraging flow of saliva and keeping your mouth moist.
- Address teeth clenching. Cleaning your teeth can wear away your enamel. Your dentist can work with you in customizing a mouth guard so you can prevent grinding your teeth.
If you experience any kind of tooth sensitivity, be sure to mention it to your dentist on your next visit. If your sensitivity is severe don’t wait to get it looked at book your appointment today!