Sensitive teeth are a very common problem. Sensitivity may be a mild twinge or a severe, lasting pain that occurs when hot or cold drinks or food come into contact with your teeth. Some people also experience sensitivity from sweet or acidic food and drink. More often than not, sensitive teeth are an early warning sign of an underlying dental problem, which is why you should visit your dentist as soon as possible if you have problems with sensitive teeth.
The first thing we will do if you present with sensitive teeth is to find out what the cause is. Our teeth are covered by a layer of hard enamel that protects the softer dentine below. If the enamel is worn away by attacks from acid in many food and drinks, the dentine is exposed and can cause the tooth to become sensitive. Enamel is thinner where the teeth and gums meet, so this is often where sensitivity is first felt.
Plaque and tartar can lead to gum recession, meaning the gum shrinks back down the tooth, exposing more of your tooth. Gums can also naturally shrink back, particularly with age. Because the root of the tooth does not have a layer of enamel to protect it, this can be a leading cause of sensitivity.Excessive tooth brushing
Regular tooth brushing is vital to good dental health, but bad brushing technique can do more harm than good. Brushing too hard or brushing incorrectly from side to side can cause abrasion, wearing away your enamel and exposing the more sensitive dentine beneath.Bruxism (tooth grinding)
Many people grind and clench their teeth at night. This habit can be hard to break and can cause enamel to be worn away from the surface of the teeth.Chipped or cracked tooth or filling
If a tooth is chipped or cracked, or a piece of a filling is lost, this can cause sensitivity, particularly to high or low temperatures.
Once we have established the cause of your sensitivity, we will be able to recommend a course of treatment. As well as treating any underlying conditions, we can apply fluoride to your teeth and can treat you with a special high fluoride treatment.
In the case of worn, chipped or cracked teeth or fillings, we will use a composite resin treatment to repair any cracks and rebuild your teeth. We may also refer you to one of our hygienists to help you improve your brushing technique.