Canít eat or drink anything hot or cold without a twinge of sharp pain? You might have sensitive teeth. Read our article below for the symptoms, causes, and treatments for sensitive teeth.
Symptoms of sensitive teeth
If you feel a sharp pain when:
- You eat or drink something hot or cold
- You eat something sweet or sour
- You bite down on something
You may also have an ache or pain that persists well after the initial twinges.
What causes sensitive teeth?
If the protective enamel on the surface of the tooth becomes damaged, the lower layer of dentine is exposed. Dentine is full of tiny holes that travel all the way to the toothís nerve. Itís this indirect exposure of the nerve that causes tooth sensitivity.
There are several ways that dentine can become exposed:
- You may have a broken or cracked tooth, or a hole due to tooth decay
- Brushing teeth too hard or for too long can wear down enamel
- Acidic food and drink can erode enamel
- Receding gums can expose the root of your tooth, which has no enamel. This can occur naturally or due to gum disease
- Poor quality teeth whitening treatments can erode enamel
- If you grind your teeth you can wear away enamel
You may experience tooth sensitivity after getting a filling, but this usually goes away fairly quickly. You should contact your dentist if the sensitivity is still there a few weeks after your filling.
How are sensitive teeth treated?
Make sure you have regular check-ups with your dentist and go to the dental hygienist when you are referred. Follow any advice they give on how to look after your teeth at home.
Your dentist might recommend a fluoride gel, rinse, or varnish. These can gradually build up your enamel.
You can prevent teeth from becoming sensitive by:
- Avoiding sugary, fizzy, or acidic foods and drinks
- Brushing teeth with small circular motions, rather than side to side
- Switching to a sot bristle toothbrush and replacing it every 3 months
- Using a toothpaste especially formulated for sensitivity