In Hartwell Dentistry’s blog, today and next fortnight, we will be looking at sensitivity with our teeth. We will be addressing what are the common reasons for this and how to prevent/ treat it.

Sensitivity of teeth can occur from many activities. People can receive sensitivity from chewing on hard foods, eating sweets, temperature, tooth brushing, breathing, eating acidic foods etc. It is important that we identify what causes these sensitivities as they can help determine the fundamental reason why the tooth is reacting in the first place!

Most people experience sensitivity to cold foods or beverages. This most likely occurs because of

  • Gum recession
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Abrasions and grinding
  • Cracks
  • Trauma

Gum recession;

commonly called shrinking gums is a result of the gums receding or moving down/up the tooth. This is a form of gum disease. When this occurs, the root of the tooth is therefore exposed which naturally does not have enamel or a strong protective layer.

This can occur either from trauma such as accidental gauging of the gum, excessive tooth brushing with hard bristles or poor technique, and/or chronic gum disease. If the root surface becomes sensitive to anything apart from cold beverages/food, the layer between the outer surface of the tooth and the nerve of the tooth will require treatment to prevent nerve damage. Root surfaces of teeth are weaker to acids from diet/gastric fluids, tooth brushing and plaque/bacteria. If not maintained, they will quickly decay and erode.

To prevent sensitivity from gum recession/prevent the process of gum recession

  • Soft bristled toothbrush – manual or electric toothbrushes
  • Appropriate tooth brushing techniques
  • Regular removal of plaque  / tartar
  • Sensitive toothpaste – having the paste in contact with the tooth for a longer period of time will encourage the paste to work more effectively.
  • Remineralizing root/enamel surfaces with calcium and phosphate – Toothmousse and high fluoridated toothpaste/mouth rinses

If these techniques are still not preventing sensitivity, a tooth colored restoration to cover the exposed area will be required.

In our next blog, we will continue to highlight the most common reasons for sensitive teeth and what you can do about it.