Many people complain their teeth are sensitive when eating cold food and drinking cold drinks. A dental check up is important to find out the cause. Often the diagnosis is what dentists call ‘dentine sensitivity’. Our teeth are made of dentine, which is very sensitive. Fortunately, the dentine is protected by an outer shell of enamel. As time goes by, our tooth enamel slowly becomes thinner due to wear. As it becomes thinner , sometimes the enamel even chips. Thinning and chipping of enamel leads to less protection of the dentine beneath giving rise to sensitivity. Some wear of our tooth enamel is inevitable because we use our teeth for eating. However, excessive wear usually relates to things we can try to reduce.
Another source of acid wear is stomach acid which has come into the mouth by reflux, regurgitation or vomiting. Tooth enamel can also be worn excessively when people;
Sometimes dentine sensitivity will disappear if the cause can be addressed. In other instances, fluoride varnish, plastic sealants, or adhesive fillings are required. If you have this problem we also recommend using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
Dentine sensitivity can also be caused by gum recession. Sometimes gum recession is a result of gum disease or incorrect tooth brushing. However, it can also relate to the natural ageing process. In a small number of cases a gum graft is necessary, but most of the time fluoride varnish and toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth are all that is required.
Away from dentine sensitivity, other causes of sensitivity include tooth decay (cavities), cracked teeth and broken fillings. These problems need to be managed differently to dentine sensitivity. If you are suffering from sensitivity, please come in for a dental check up so the exact cause can be found and treated appropriately.
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