Sense and Sensitivity: Teeth

Published in September 2019. 

It turns out that feelings and emotions aren’t the only sensitive parts of a person. Your teeth can give you just as much trouble. 

It’s a sharp, nagging feeling in your mouth. You can’t quite put your finger on why you’re feeling this way, so let us help you.

First, you should know that you are not alone. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem among Canadians.  But like any oral health issue, the first step to combat tooth sensitivity is to learn about what causes it, what you can do to prevent it, and how you can manage it. You can start by booking an appointment with us or you can keep reading for more information.

What is the Cause?

Tooth sensitivity is the layman’s term for dentin hypersensitivity, characterized by striking pain when teeth are exposed to varied conditions, like excess heat or cold, or acidic foods. 

Tooth sensitivity has everything to do with the breakdown of the protective layers of your teeth, also known as enamel. Regular cleanings will protect your enamel from breaking down. Enamel may be the hardest substance in the body and protects our teeth from decay. Underneath the enamel is the dentin and beneath the gums, the root of the tooth (for more dental terms and definitions, check out our last post). Tooth enamel does not grow back, so it cannot be replaced.  Dry mouth, acid reflux, teeth grinding and acidic foods, are just some of the conditions that contribute to the wear and tear of your tooth enamel. But there’s more to this short experience of sensitivity, than that.

Both dentin and roots interact with nerve cells. That sharp pain you experience is the feeling of exposed dentin or roots. The roots of your teeth can become exposed in cases where the gums are receding. 

The First Line of Defense

The fact that enamel doesn’t repair itself is daunting. However, there are preventative methods that dentists recommend to help you manage. Even if you aren’t experiencing it daily, there are a few steps you can take to be proactive:

  1. Avoid acidic foods into your diet, and brush extra carefully if you can’t.
  2. Buy a toothpaste that isn’t overly harsh on your teeth.  Fluoride-based toothpaste will minimize tooth decay and will protect your enamel from further damage.
  3. Brush with a soft-bristled brush, and replace it every three or four months. If you’re already experiencing sensitivity, you can manage short-term pain, with long-term benefits.
  4. Book regular checkups with your local dentist. They have the expertise to monitor the progress of any tooth decay or gum recession in your mouth.

Bring the Fight to us

In the case that you already suffer from sensitivity, the best treatment (as in most cases) is to visit us at Sandhurst Family Dental. We have a multitude of services and recommendations to minimize your pain and help you get back to your best. 

Sensitive teeth can be painful and frustrating, and not taking the proper precautions to ensure your oral health will only lead to worse consequences down the line. Unfortunately, sensitivity is a fairly common problem in our society but it is up to you (with our help of course), to have some sense and sensibility and deal with your mouth’s sense and sensitivity.    

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