Why are my teeth so sensitive?

Written by  //  December 11, 2014  //  Health, Wellness  //  No comments

If you experience shooting pain when you sip on an ice cold drink or a hot coffee, you’re not alone. Thousands of people in the UK suffer from tooth sensitivity, but why do the teeth become sensitive and what can you do to banish pain caused by sensitivity for good?

Why teeth become sensitive

3520145_blogThe teeth become sensitive as a result of damage or wear to the enamel. The enamel is the hard, protective outer layer of the tooth. When it becomes thin or damaged, this causes the layer underneath to become exposed. Underneath the enamel lies dentine, a softer part of the tooth, which contains the pulp tissue, the tooth’s living tissue. The dentine is made up of tiny tubules, which lead to the nerves. When you eat or drink foods or drinks that are hot or cold, this can bring about a change in the movement of fluid in the tubules, which then triggers a response from the nerve endings. This sequence is what triggers the sharp, shooting pain you feel when your teeth come into contact with hot or very cold liquids or foods.

There are various causes of worn and damaged enamel, from bruxism and poor oral hygiene to acid erosion and dental injuries.

Acid erosion is the most common cause of soft enamel, and this is usually linked to diet. Eating acidic and sugary foods and drinks causes acids to be produced, which attack and weaken the enamel. Over time, as the enamel becomes thinner, the chances of dental decay and sensitivity are increased.

Bruxism, also known as tooth grinding, is another common cause of tooth wear and tear. Many people grind their teeth during the night without even being aware of it. Bruxism can damage the teeth and it can also contribute to headaches and migraines and pain in the ears, neck and shoulders.

Dealing with sensitivity

Sensitivity is often short lived, but if you have severe pain or you experience pain on a frequent basis or over a prolonged period of time, it’s a good idea to call and arrange an appointment with your Aqua Dental Spa dentist. Sensitivity can often be a sign of dental injuries or decay and it’s often best to get it checked out as quickly as possible to save you pain and ensure that any problems don’t get worse.4961927_blog

There are various treatments used to tackle sensitivity. In mild cases, simply swapping your toothpaste to sensitive toothpaste that is designed to ease discomfort and strengthen the enamel may be sufficient. In more severe cases or when sensitivity is a symptom of underlying issues, such as decay or a broken tooth, treatments such as a filling or a new crown may be recommended.

In cases where sensitivity is linked to bruxism, a specially designed mouth guard can be used to prevent the top and bottom sets of teeth clashing and rubbing together while you sleep. These are custom-made by dentists, so they fit perfectly and won’t affect your ability to sleep.

Changing your diet can also have a really positive impact on your oral health and there are some really simple ways you can reduce pain caused by sensitivity, such as waiting for hot drinks to cool slightly, using a straw to drink cold drinks and cutting up fruits with a sharp or sour flavour, rather than biting directly into them.

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