Sensitive Teeth – A Year Round Problem
Tooth sensitivity can cause a lot of discomfort and may be a sign of future dental problems.
Having sensitive teeth in winter can cause problems as the cold wind blows, leaving many of us to cover our mouths with scarves which soon become damp and uncomfortable.
If we then have a nice hot cup of tea to warm us up, we also suffer discomfort from the other end of the heat spectrum.
Although we may not have a problem with a cold wind so often in summer, those ice cold drinks and ice creams can certainly be a challenge and may cause us to wince in pain if we have sensitive teeth.
The fact is that this is a year round problem and not one that is going to go away anytime soon without corrective treatment. In today’s blog, The Dental Centre Bedford takes a look at what causes tooth sensitivity, how to prevent it and some possible solutions.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Whilst some people do naturally have thinner enamel on their teeth than others, in many cases, tooth sensitivity is caused by a problem with the tooth itself. This is often down to erosion of the surface enamel, caused by a number of things which we will take a look at in the next section.
Any damage to the tooth, such as a crack or small break, will also increase the risk of tooth sensitivity, especially where it has then exposed the porous layer containing the nerves beneath. As we eat or drink hot and cold foods and drinks, the temperature is picked up much more easily by the nerves within the tooth if the enamel has been compromised.
The best way to avoid tooth sensitivity is to look after your teeth and gums. This starts at home with a good and regular brushing and flossing regimen. Naturally, seeing your Bedford dentist and hygienist plays an important role too.
There are certain things that we should also avoid in order to keep our teeth enamel healthy. One of the biggest threats is our consumption of acidic foods and drinks. For example, whilst citrus fruits are good for us and provide a good amount of our daily vitamin C intake, the acidity levels in them can cause damage to the enamel. It therefore pays to eat them in moderation. The same also applies to natural fruit drinks too.
Another problem is our increasing tendency to consume energy or ‘sports’ drinks. Although a lot of these contain sugar and caffeine for the ‘energy’, they are also often very high in acidic content. As we tend to sip these over a longer period of time, our teeth may not have time to remineralise in order to offer their usual level of protection. Drinks such as these are best avoided altogether, or at least significantly reduced.
One other thing which can cause both erosion as teeth overlap or indeed cracks to the teeth, is bruxism or teeth grinding. We covered this topic quite recently in a blog post which you can read here.
In order to receive the best treatment option for sensitive teeth it pays to have them examined by one of our experienced Bedford dentists. They will then be able to offer advice and arrange a suitable treatment plan. There are a number of possible treatment options:
Tooth sensitivity toothpaste
In the short run, these may help to make your teeth more comfortable and are certainly worth trying. The main problem with them is whether they mask a problem that should really be treated before it becomes worse. So do try them by all means, but please also see the dentist for advice.
Crowns, fillings and bonding
Any tooth that has been damaged will need to be repaired and the way that this is done will be determined following an examination. Cracks, chips or broken teeth may be filled in a number of ways including fillings, bonding or our Cerec produced crowns where the repair is more extensive.
Where the front surface of the teeth has been eroded, one of the most effective treatment methods is to replace the damaged enamel with a fine layer of tooth shaped porcelain. This is a long lasting solution that will produce immediate results and should help to make eating and drinking a pleasure again.
Sensitive teeth can be painful and may also pose a threat to your future oral health. Even if the sensitivity is relatively mild, you should mention this to your dentist. Depending on the outcome of an examination, we will be able to put a treatment plan in to place that will stop or ease your tooth sensitivity and also protect your teeth from further issues.
For enquiries about sensitive teeth or any other oral health related issue, please call The Dental Centre Bedford on 01234 819868.