How many of us like ice-cream? I am sure at least 7 to 8 people out of 10 like it. But, how many of us actually have a lot of ice-creams? Not many. Isn’t it! Of course, when people got some sensitivity issues with their gums, this happens. What is that feel which you sense when you drink a chilling Pepsi or have a frosted ice-cream? This is DENTIN HYPERSENSITIVITY, which commonly is known as ‘TEETH SENSITIVITY’.
WHAT IS IT?
Teeth sensitivity is a situation where teeth of a person, or the gums, feel pain or a sort of discomfort when a person consumes beverages or food items that are either very cold or very hot. Sensitivity occurs when teeth dentin (a hard but porous layer of tissue that is present exactly beneath the enamel of teeth) becomes exposed. Dentin, made up of water, organic and inorganic matter, forms a major part of your tooth. The pores have microscopic channels or pathways, called tubules; those lead directly the nerves present in your gums right beneath your teeth. When dentin is exposed it means that these tubules are exposed, due to certain reasons like enamel loss. And hence, nerves are easily triggered by a stimulus. Such a stimulus can be hot, cold, sweet, acidic and alcoholic foods and beverages. This can also be a cold air gust.
Teeth sensitivity varies in terms of intensity, duration, and area. In some cases, it is mild while in some it can be severe. For some people, it just matters for a few seconds or minutes while for some of the people it can go for long. For some, it is only two-three affected teeth while for some the area may range from front incisors to pre-molars.
1. Due to loss of ENAMEL: Enamel is the outer most layer of a tooth. Enamel loss correlated to the tooth erosion process which happens when any acidic material wears out the enamel layer. As stated above there are several reasons for this layer of the tooth to be worn-out. Enamel can wear out by hard brushing either forced brushing or using a hard brush; teeth grinding, and acidic or alcoholic foods/ beverages consumption.
2. GERD– It stands for Gastroesophageal reflux disease. It causes acid from one’s stomach or inner body organs to come up in the mouth and cause hard to enamel making it weaker. Vomiting is an example of GERD.
3. Gum recession– Gum recession is a situation in which the gums, surrounding the teeth area start to deteriorating and wearing out. Gums, in this case, pull backward which gives more exposure to the teeth. It may also cause a gap between the teeth roots or between teeth and gums. This causes sensitivity when exposed to cold air. The worse part is that Gum-recession is such a slow process that people don’t even perceive that they are suffering from this problem. And by the time they get to know it, their teeth enamel is at the stage where its exposure is at maximum.
4. Tooth Decay– Tooth decay or cavities are the holes that are permanently created on the surface of one’s teeth. There are several reasons for cavities to develop in a person’s mouth. Sticky food and beverage are the most common of all. The leftover food in teeth causes plague which generates an acidic by-product and it wears out the enamel.
- Fillings: When a damaged or plagued tooth is removed the dentists use the filling method to restore it to the normal function and shape. Sometimes this filling may get worn out leaving the tooth exposed. This leads to sensitivity further.
- Teeth whitening– Teeth whitening can be one of the reasons for teeth sensitivity. So, shall we stop whitening our teeth with brushing technique? NO. But, a person should refrain from getting teeth whitening done by dentists using harsh chemicals and hand tools for the removal of tough stains. Many times it leads to the removal of the enamel layer as well.
Out of the above-mentioned causes, some are controllable i.e. a person can take care to not to do that to prevent one’s teeth like a person may not opt-out for a dental teeth whitening appointment or may always ignore sticky and sweet food late at night so that it doesn’t develop into a plague by the morning. But, most of these reasons are involuntary in nature. E.g. worn-out fillings or enamel loss. If this happens person is bound to feel teeth sensitivity. What to do in that case? Should it be left untreated or ignored? Or should we address this as soon as possible and as seriously as possible? What are the ways to cure or get relief from teeth sensitivity?
There are certainly some ways to ease those nerves of gums and some of those methods are mentioned here:-
1. Toothpaste– Have you heard of Sensodyne? I am sure you must have heard it in commercial advertisements on television Do you remember what is it for? Yes for sensitive teeth. But, what exactly does it do? Why do dentists recommend it which the advertisement claims? The toothpastes that are made up of sensitive-teeth have lesser of the ingredients that may irritate your exposed tooth area or nerves of your gums. Rather they may have desensitizing elements that don’t let sensitivity travel to other teeth or from gums to nerves. Not only the toothpaste but the mouth cleaners, mouthwashes and mouth-rinses that one uses should also be friendly for sensitive teeth.
- Toothbrush– Your hard brushing can erode your enamel layer. It is wise to use a soft toothbrush and brushing softly rather than rubbing it all with your might on your teeth.
- Avoid acidic foods– Acidic foods like lemon juice, pomegranate, grapes, berries, etc. should be least consumed. They tend to erode the layer on teeth which can open up the holes to nerves of gums to the air causing
- There are various dentist treatments too available for calming your sensitive nerves which are:
(a).Bonding– The sensitivity of the tooth is sensed at its roots. Bonding means applying bonding resin to the tooth roots so that exposed surfaced can get some relaxation. This procedure may need local anesthesia.
(b.) Gum Graft– This method is what its name suggests i.e. grafting of gums. If sensitivity is due to gum recession then a part of the tissue from other body parts can be taken out and put in gum area to protect the exposed part. This process is surgical and hence needs a high level of expertise.
The above methods are applicable and are supposed to be effective in relieving a person from sensitivity. However, a person needs to know the actual cause of his teeth sensitivity. If the reason is clear to him then he may proceed for a specific solution for the same. But, if the reason is not clear and sensitivity is not getting cured by any of the methods one should seek the help of a dentist as soon as possible.