Are you having problems with sensitive teeth? Have you had a lot of discomfort or pain recently?
Not to worry, tooth sensitivity is a very common issue and occurs when you’re coming into contact with particular substances as well as temperatures. According to a UK and Worldwide Electric Teeth survey, 57% of the people asked had experienced tooth sensitivity.
Luckily, sensitive teeth can be temporary and be treated to improve them! Read on to find out more about the causes of tooth sensitivity and how they can be resolved.
Symptoms and Causes of tooth sensitivity
If you are dealing with sensitive teeth, you probably notice sharp flashes of pain that occur when teeth are subjected to air, cold temperatures, sweet, acidic, or hot foods. It can even transpire when brushing and flossing your teeth.
Some of the causes that can impact how sensitive your teeth include:
- Brushing your teeth too hard, using a hard-bristled toothbrush.
- Gum recession
- Gingivitis – inflamed and sore gum tissue can reveal the tooth’s root.
- Cracked teeth – which can be then filled with bacteria from plaque. This can cause inflammation in the pulp of the tooth. If left untreated, it may result in abscess and infection
- Teeth grinding or clenching, which can wear down the enamel
- Build-up of plaque
- Using mouthwash long-term. If you regularly use over-the-counter mouthwashes, these contain acids
- Acidic foods
- Dental procedures. If you have recently had professional dental work, this can result in teeth sensitivity. However, it usually gets better in four to six weeks.
Do Fillings Cause Teeth Sensitivity?
The answer is yes, if you have had a cavity filled or a filling replaced, you can experience tooth sensitivity. As tooth decay causes cavities and irritates teeth, the filling procedure to account for this can result in sensitive teeth. Don’t be alarmed, however, as a filling can improve on its own after a few weeks. In some cases, this may last longer, although if it is gradually improving over time, there is no need to worry! If it remains persistent this can indicate a root canal is needed to resolve the sensitivity.
Moreover, if you notice teeth becoming sensitive when biting down after a filling, a bite adjustment can be given to rectify this. If the filling is too high, dentists can lower the filling. Composite fillings can also cause teeth sensitivity when eating, although there may be no pain, this can easily be fixed by your dentist. Usually, they will adjust the bite or replace it with another composite.
Do Whitening Treatments Cause Teeth Sensitivity?
Yes, even whitening treatments can cause teeth sensitivity. If they are performed at your local dentists or using over-the-counter whitening treatments, they contain severe chemicals to remove stains. However, this can also result in the removal of the enamel, which then causes sensitive teeth.
According to the British Dental Journal (2014), where it was discovered that desensitising gel did not have any effect in reducing tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening. However, if you are looking to use bleaching gel, keep a lookout for products with low acidity as this can potentially result in less pain with the same results.
Treatments for Sensitive Teeth
Symptoms of tooth sensitivity may reduce and leave over time, but it can occasionally come and go. Most of the time, the reasons for the sensitive teeth can be removed completely.
There is no one treatment to solve teeth sensitivity, the many options for treatment depend on the cause and person to person. Make sure to speak to your dentist for recommendations on which treatment is best for you.
Some at-home treatments can help in the meantime:
- Desensitising toothpaste: speak to your dentist regarding the brands of toothpaste available for sensitive teeth. Either they will recommend the most suitable or have you try several types to see which is the most effective. Fluoridated toothpaste works the best, make sure to avoid tartar-control toothpaste. Spreading a thin layer on your exposed tooth roots before bed should help reduce symptoms
- Use a soft-bristled toothpaste
- Avoid eating acidic foods until the symptoms disappear
- Daily use of fluoridated mouthwash can help sensitive teeth
- If you regularly grind your teeth, try to avoid this habit or get a mouthguard to help
There are some dental procedures that potentially reduce teeth sensitivity, speak to your dentist regarding the best procedure for you:
- For fixing tooth flaws or decays that may result in teeth sensitivity, bonding, crowns, and inlays may be the best treatment for this.
- Fluoride gel or varnish
- If tooth sensitivity has resulted in eroded gum tissue from the root, surgical gum grafts may be the solution. This will protect the root and reduce the sensitivity.
- Root canal procedure is usually the last treatment used to potentially treat severe sensitive teeth, if other methods have not worked.
Advances in Fluoride Treatments
Fluoride or fluoride combined with other protective agents can’t prevent tooth erosion, as this can lead to teeth sensitivity. However, keep an eye out for products that have:
- Titanium tetrafluoride
- Polyvalent metal ions
- Polymers can help prevent teeth sensitivity
According to the NHS (2020), silver diamine fluoride can be used to prevent tooth decay and can then treat teeth sensitivity. This must be applied by your dentist, twice a year and if you have silver allergies – avoid this treatment!
Teeth Sensitivity Treatment at Hermes London Dental Clinic
As previously mentioned, your dentist is the best person to visit to receive guidance on the causes of your sensitive teeth and the right treatment to solve them.
If you are suffering from any of the above issues, we will most likely request to see you more frequently. Once we are happy with the results, we will advise you on whether we would like to see you every six or 12 months.