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Learn About Tooth Sensitivity

 Humans rely on the senses of hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste in order to perceive the world around them. It is that combination that allows for the detection of pain regardless of where it occurs in the human body and tooth sensitivity is part of the system.

Those who have ever experienced oral discomfort due to air, temperature, pressure or foods know how uncomfortable the sensation can be. The feeling is an odd mix involving many layers of irritation including both sharp, jabbing pain that comes and goes quickly and a low level of dull unpleasantness that can linger about for hours on end. While there are plenty of toothpastes on the market specifically catering to minimizing the annoyance, individuals are advised to seek professional dental care to get an accurate diagnosis and receive the proper dental treatment to treat the source of the issue.

What is Tooth Sensitivity

Even the toughest person has a sensitive side and for some, tooth sensitivity is their Achilles heel. Tooth sensitivity (AKA dentin hypersensitivity) is the unpleasant sensation experienced when the nerves inside the dentin of the teeth are exposed to the environment.

Courtesy of the tooth structure, teeth are some of the hardest compounds in the human body. While to the naked eye teeth look like solid and strong bone, the devices are comprised of an intricate network featuring enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp. When one’s dental health is up to par, the fragments of the visible tooth (the crown) and the portion under the gum line (the root) work in perfect harmony. However, when things run amiss in an oral cavity, dental nerves are exposed and tooth sensitivity is the unfortunate side effect.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

No two humans are exactly alike and neither are the reasons for their tooth sensitivity. Dentin is made-up of thousands of microscopic tubular structures, and the structures deliver the stimulus (AKA temperature, or sugary foods) to the nerve ending. It is that transfer that may cause pain to be experienced. Tooth sensitivity can be triggered by a number of behaviors including:

  • Eating Disorders: Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where an individual participates in a vicious cycle of binge eating and purging. The act of purging (AKA vomiting) forces powerful stomach acids over tooth enamel. Over time, that will lead to tooth erosion, exposure of the dentin conduits and pain.
  • Acid Reflux (AKA gastroesophageal reflux disease): This condition is marked by the involuntary process of the stomach acids seeping backwards and can also trigger tooth erosion.
  • Tooth Brushing: While daily brushing is an important part of a dental care regime, individuals can literally brush away tooth enamel, cause receding gums and the subsequent exposure of dental nerves.
  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum Disease
  • Bruxism
  • Excessive dental plaque build up
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Certain foods and treats
  • Over using mouthwash

How to Treat Tooth Sensitivity

Individuals suffering from tooth sensitivity need to be especially diligent about their oral hygiene practices. Despite the discomfort it may cause, gently brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush and flossing to lower plaque levels is a must and individuals can opt to use sensitive care toothpaste to temporarily relieve the symptoms. Additionally, individuals should focus on eating a nutritious diet high in taste and low on pain causing stimulants.

If the irritation does not cease, a dental visit is in order for both diagnosis and a course of action. Based on the findings by your dentist, some other treatments for tooth sensitivity include:

  • Dental fillings for a cavity caused by tooth decay
  • Dental bonding to cover the exposed tooth area prone to tooth sensitivity
  • Professional fluoride applications to strengthen tooth enamel
  • An application of a dentin sealer to cover the exposed root surface

If you or someone you love has been suffering with tooth sensitivity and need to find a dentist to relieve the pain, 0900-DENTIST is here to help.

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