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Dealing with Increased Tooth Sensitivity

Posted in Dental Care, and General Dentistry

Sensitivity Below the Surface

Being able to feel things with the hardest surface in our body, our teeth must mean that below the surface are some very sensitive nerves. Those same nerves when exposed can be the source of very uncomfortable pain. So, if you’re dealing with increased tooth sensitivity this week’s post is for you. We’ll discuss some causes of tooth sensitivity, and some treatments that can help reduce and maybe solve this painful problem.

Tooth Anatomy

To understand the cause of tooth sensitivity you need to know some tooth anatomy. Let’s look inside your teeth and get to “the root cause” (lol) of sensitivity. Enamel is the hard white coating that covers every part of the tooth, everything above the gum line has a thicker layer. Enamel, known as the hardest substance in our bodies is also a great insulator. Tooth enamel has no nerve innovation. Dentin, however, contains hundreds of little tubes that house the ends of the nerves. Small fibrils that are super sensitive to heat, cold, acidic, and sweat substances. These give teeth their ability to feel pressure among other sensations that allow us to feel our food. Anything that causes exposure to dentin is therefore a cause of tooth sensitivity.

Since enamel is much thinner under the gum line, dentin exposure is common after gum recession. Basically, anything that wears down enamel can expose dentin or reduce the insulating value of enamel to the point our teeth become sensitive. As a result, tooth grinding (bruxism) can also cause tooth sensitivity. Other causes could include cavities, chipped or cracked teeth, loose or absent fillings, and abscess or infections.

Your Amazing Teeth

Treatment for Tooth Sensitivity

Since most situations involving tooth sensitivity come from inflammation of one kind or another, usually the best band aid or temporary solution is Advil (Ibuprofen), or Motrin. For a permanent fix to the problem, we need to reinsulate or cover the exposed nerves or at the very least calm them down and prevent further exposure. 

Hydroxyapatite toothpaste literally feeds your teeth with ingredients needed to rebuild enamel. Areas of exposed dentin subsequently get reinsulated or covered with fresh layers of enamel. Eventually as your teeth rebuild enamel to the point sensitivity decreases or healed completely. Look for HA toothpaste or toothpaste containing hydroxyapatite. In addition to HA consider a toothpaste that also has fluoride as it helps these enamel builders bind and become stronger.

Toothpastes designed to calm the nerves or block their ability to feel use potassium nitrate to clog dentin tubulars. This limits nerve transmission temporarily. This too, takes time to work. Expect a few weeks of regular use before tooth sensitivity is reduced. Most recognise this product as Sensodyne who has patented this effective way to reduce sensitivity.  

Dr. Mathews can also help with sensitivity by applying a dental fluoride-based varnish or a dental sealant. Both can be applied easily, that is the process is non-invasive and takes a few minutes. Therefore, if you have sensitivity, bring up the subject at your next dental appointment.

There are lots of other dental issues that might feel like sensitivity but be the beginning of something more serious. Deeper infections like infections in the tooth pulp or root may require a root canal to save your tooth or teeth. Therefore, mention any type of pain to your dentist even if it might seam irrelevant or insignificant. Erbsville Dental has awesome tools to look at such area’s closely and may be in a better position to accurately diagnose if a problem exists.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.