Explaining Tooth Sensitivity


by Jay Nickles - Date: 2007-01-30 - Word Count: 495 Share This!

Tooth sensitivity is quite a common occurrence, and comes and goes, over time. Root sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, is commonly known as tooth sensitivity. One is known to suffer from tooth sensitivity, when hot, cold, sweet, or very acidic foods and drinks make one's teeth painful, or become sensitive. Mundane occurrences such as breathing in cold air can makes one's teeth feel overly sensitive as well.

Causes Of Tooth Sensitivity

Approximately 80 percent of adults have receded gums by the time they pass 60 years of age. Receded gums and gingivitis expose the dentin on the root areas, making the tooth very sensitive. Dentin, situated beneath the enamel and cementum surrounds the pulp cavity. It is a hard and calcareous tissue, similar to the bone but much denser. The root areas of the tooth do not have any covering, such as enamel on the tooth - but cementum instead, which, if lost, exposes the dentin of the root. Using abrasive toothpaste, or hard brushing can cause abrasion of the tooth's enamel, thereby exposing the dentin. An acidic diet, such as citrus food and pickles can expose the dentin by causing tooth erosion, and dissolving of the tooth's enamel.

Tooth sensitivity makes brushing of teeth painful, leading to inadequate brushing, further causing risk of tooth decay and gum diseases. Tooth sensitivity caused by hot or cold, or sweet or acidic foods and drinks could be due to tooth decay, cavity, a hole in the tooth, or a broken tooth. It is strongly recommended to consult a dentist, who on examination of the teeth can prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Preventing And Treating Tooth Sensitivity

Maintaining good oral hygiene will help prevent gums recession and periodontal disease, which can reduce chances of tooth sensitivity. Proper brushing and flossing, and using a low abrasion toothpaste and a softer brush, may reduce the chance of tooth sensitivity. A low acidic diet is also highly recommended. Tooth sensitivity must never be ignored, as this can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health complications.

One needs to immediately report to one's dentist if one experiences tooth sensitivity. The dentist or the dental hygienist is the best person to decide what the best treatment is. He/she could recommend use of a desensitizing toothpaste. Such toothpastes contain adequate fluoride to help prevent teeth against tooth decay, and also help make the teeth less sensitive. Depending on an individual's case, the dentist may recommend a brush-on fluoride gel, a toothpaste with high fluoride content specially made to reduce sensitivity in teeth, or a fluoride rinse.

There are a number of inexpensive treatments for tooth sensitivity, and many may be practiced at home. Depending on the severity of sensitivity, and the cause behind it, a dentist may have to provide treatment at a dental clinic. These treatments could include fluoride varnishes and plastic resins that are painted onto the teeth or fillings if much tooth area has been lost. Today, lasers are used as an effective method to treat tooth sensitivity.


Related Tags: teeth, tooth, gums, gingivitis, tooth sensitivity, oral hygeine, hypersensitivity

Jay Nickles is a founder of several health related websites including http://www.bestvaluedentalplans.com featuring the top dental plans in the nation and http://usresourcegroup.com providing quality information on medical and heath related matters.

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