Have you ever felt pain or discomfort after a bite of ice cream or a spoonful of hot soup? If so, you’re not alone. While pain caused by hot or cold foods could be a sign of a cavity, it’s also common in people who have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity, or “dentin hypersensitivity,” is exactly what it sounds like: pain or discomfort in the teeth as a response to certain stimuli, such as hot or cold temperatures.
It may be temporary or a chronic problem, and it can affect one tooth, several teeth, or all the teeth in a single individual. It can have a number of different causes, but most cases of sensitive teeth are easily treated with a change in your oral hygiene regimen.
Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints that a patient enters with, into a dental clinic. Sensitivity is a brief sensation caused by the exposure of dentin, the layer beneath the hard white enamel surface due to the external stimuli.
Causes of tooth sensitivity:
- Ingestion of hard, acidic foods, Aerated drinks, etc.
- Aggressive brushing habits and using a hard bristled brush.
- Cavities involving the dentinal layer of the tooth.
- The recession of the gums in older people.
- Cold weather.
- Bruxism or night grinding.
- Sinus infection.
Prevention of tooth sensitivity:
- Using fluoridated toothpaste.
- Using a soft bristled brush.
- Abstaining from highly acidic drinks.
Consult a dentist to identify the cause of sensitivity.
- If the tooth sensitivity is due to tooth decay-restoration is the ideal choice of treatment.
- If due to bruxism, wearing a mouth guard will help.
- If due to enamel erosion- Suitable interventions are fluoride therapy, gingival graft surgery as per the dentist’s recommendation.
- If these procedures are not effective – root canal therapy is recommended.