Tooth Sensitivity – General
What causes it?
Exposure of the dentine can occur due to a number of factors. Some of the more common reasons are:
- Gum recession due to age or improper tooth brushing
- Acidic beverages (such as soft drinks) that cause enamel erosion and dentine exposure
- Tooth grinding – this may actually cause most or all of the teeth to feel sensitive
- Brushing with a very abrasive toothpaste, brushing incorrectly and/or brushing more than three times a day could result in a loss of enamel
- Gum disease, which can result in gum recession
- A chipped or fractured tooth may expose the dentine
In addition, some dental treatments can cause sensitivity. Treatments such as tooth whitening , professional dental cleanings, having braces put on or getting a filling placed have been known to cause sensitivity during or after the procedure.
What can I do about it?
The first step in doing something about dental sensitivity is to find out what the cause is – a dental professional can help you with this. If the sensitivity is due to exposed dentine, there are a number of steps you can take, as can your dental professional, to help reduce the sensitivity. These can include:
- Using a very soft bristle tooth brush
- Brushing correctly to help prevent abrasion of the enamel and recession of the gums
- Using a toothpaste specially formulated to help reduce sensitivity
- The dental professional can:
- Apply a fluoride varnish on the sensitive areas to help strengthen the tooth and block the dentine tubules
- Prescribe a high fluoride tooth paste to use every day
- Place a dental restoration to build up the areas that have lost enamel
In the end, whether you need an in-office procedure or over-the-counter products, the most important step is to see a dental professional so that he or she can determine the cause of the tooth sensitivity and help you find a solution that will work.
Copyright 2008 Colgate-Palmolive