Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity, Avenue Road Dental

Lots of people have sensitive teeth. There are many causes. There may have been gum recession exposing part of the sensitive tooth root, there may be dental erosion caused by acid drinks that thin the enamel. Patients with reflux disease may also experience this type of sensitivity. Teeth may have broken or fillings lost leaving the tooth open to temperature or chemical attack or there may be untreated tooth decay.

In all cases tooth sensitivity is a real problem that can seriously reduce the quality of life. Nobody wants to have to think before daring to eat their favourite foods! The good news is that there is almost always a solution.

If the teeth are generally sensitive in all parts of the mouth the first thing to do is to switch to a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. All the major products are effective but some people will find that one preparation is better for them than another. The effects of these toothpastes are not instant; it may take 2-3 weeks before an improvement is noticed. The best way to use them is to put the toothpaste on the fingertip and smear it all over the sensitive areas then wait about a minute before brushing. This gives the active ingredient time to work. If that doesn’t help the dentist or dental hygienist can apply more powerful remedies to the teeth to help de-sensitize them and in a last resort sensitive areas can be covered-up with tooth-coloured filling materials to insulate them from outside assault.

Obviously avoid activities that make sensitivity worse! Make sure you’re brushing in the recommended way. Incorrect tooth brushing is a major cause of tooth sensitivity so ask the dentist or hygienist how you can clean efficiently without causing damage. Try to cut down on the frequency of acid-containing drinks. These include almost all fizzy drinks as well as fruit juices. If you feel you must drink these things regularly follow them with a few sips of water which will wash away most of the acid. The same goes for fruit, especially citrus fruit like oranges and grapefruit. No, I don’t mean the odd tangerine during the festive season but the regular intake of this type of fruit. Vitamin C is good but there are other ways of making sure you get enough!

Biting into ice-creams is bad news for most adults! Children can get away with it because the nerve supply to milk teeth is a bit different to that for adults. Tooth sensitivity with extremes of temperature is normal as those of us who remember ‘Baked Alaska’ will know! Be realistic!  Ice cream covered in hot custard will challenge the most resilient nerve!

General sensitivity is one thing; an individually sensitive tooth is another. If the tooth is sensitive to both hot or cold it may be decayed, split or fractured. If it’s only sensitive to hot it’s often an indication that it’s abscessed. In either case you need to let your dentist examine it. Chances are it will become worse rather than better; probably on Christmas Eve!

Don’t live with tooth sensitivity. It isn’t ‘normal’ and it certainly isn’t a normal part of growing older. If you can’t control it yourself by using de-sensitising toothpastes and eating and drinking sensibly ask us for help. We can almost certainly overcome the problem and ensure you have a Merry Christmas, Easter, Divali, Channukah or any other fine festival!

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