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Sensitive Teeth

What is sensitive Teeth?

Having sensitive teeth can mean anything from getting a mild twinge to having severe discomfort that can continue for several hours.It can also be an early warning sign of more serious dental problems.


Who suffers from sensitive teeth?
Many people suffer from sensitive teeth and it can start at any time. It is more common in people aged between 20 and 40, although it can affect people in their early teens and when they are over 70. Women are more likely to be affected than men.
What causes sensitive teeth?
The part of the tooth we can see is covered by a layer of enamel that protects the softer dentine underneath.
If the dentine is exposed, a tooth can become sensitive. This usually happens where the tooth and the gum meet and the enamel layer is much thinner.Here are some causes of sensitivity.
Toothbrush abrasion – brushing too hard, and brushing from side to side, can cause enamel to be worn away, particularly where the teeth meet the gums. The freshly exposed dentine may then become sensitive.
Dental erosion – this is loss of tooth enamel caused by attacks of acid from acidic food and drinks. If enamel is worn away the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to sensitivity.
Gum recession – gums may naturally recede (shrink back), and the roots will become exposed and can be more sensitive. Root surfaces do not have an enamel layer to protect them.
Gum disease – a build-up of plaque or tartar can cause the gum to recede down the tooth and even destroy the bony support of the tooth. Packets can form in the gums around the tooth, making the area difficult to keep clean and the problem worse.
Tooth grinding – this is a habit which involves clenching and grinding the teeth together. This can cause the enamel of the teeth to be worn away, making the teeth sensitive.
Other causes of pain from sensitivity may be:
A cracked tooth or filling – a cracked tooth is one that has become broken. A crack can run from the biting surface of a tooth down towards the root. Extreme temperatures, especially cold, may cause discomfort.
Tooth bleaching – some patients have sensitivity for a short time during or after having their teeth bleached. Discuss this with your dentist before having treatment.
When are teeth more likely to be sensitive?
You are more likely to feel the sensitivity when drinking or eating something cold, from cold air catching your teeth, and sometimes with hot foods or drinks. Some people have sensitivity when they have sweet or acidic food and drink. The pain can come and go, with some times being worse than others.
Is there anything I can do to treat sensitive teeth at home?
There are many brands of toothpaste on the market made to help ease the pain of sensitive teeth. The toothpaste should be used twice a day to brush your teeth. It can also be rubbed onto the sensitive areas.These toothpastes can take anything from a few days to several weeks to take effect. Your dentist should be able to advise you on which type of toothpaste would be best for you.

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