Too many people live with this problem when relief is at hand
Unless you have a dental issue, you probably don’t spend too much time thinking about your teeth. To many, they are just a block of material in the mouth that is used for chewing food. There is also, of course, the aesthetic appeal of having an attractive smile, as can be seen by the popularity of cosmetic treatments at the Cygnet Dental Practice, but even then, we probably know little about the structure of our teeth.
A tooth is, in fact, made up largely of three parts; the surface enamel, the softer dentin layer beneath that, and the root canals where tiny blood vessels and the nerves of the tooth are stored. It is these nerves that allow us to understand when something is too hard to bite. Without them, it would be much easier to break our teeth. The downside of these nerves of course is that they also allow us to feel pain when problems strike.
Whilst the most obvious discomfort that we feel in our teeth is when we have tooth decay or a root canal infection, the most common discomfort we encounter at our Wickford dental practice is patients with overly sensitive teeth. Whilst some degree of teeth sensitivity is useful for the reasons already mentioned, if your teeth are too sensitive, it can make eating and drinking food and drinks that are either too hot or too cold, quite an uncomfortable experience.
We can, of course, avoid products that cause us discomfort when we eat or drink, but that can take a lot of the pleasure out of eating. It could also mean that we ignore potential dental issues that could well go on to become more serious.
What are the likely causes of sensitive teeth?
Chipped or cracked teeth
Essentially, the nerves in our teeth are more likely to be uncomfortable if there is some form of damage to our teeth. Where the problem is sensitivity rather than the discomfort associated with toothache, it could mean that the tooth has a small crack or chip in it. Whilst these can be limited to the surface only, causing nothing more than aesthetic issues, if the crack or chip is significant enough, it can expose the more porous dentin part of the tooth and allow the nerves to detect the hot and cold temperatures more easily.
If this is the cause and nothing is done, there is every chance that a cavity will form over time and you will need to have the tooth treated with a filling or other restorative option.
Worn enamel on the teeth is another problem, and one that is growing as we consume more high sugar and acidic content drinks. Too many of these and the enamel is likely to become eroded, exposing the dentin more. This can also happen if we brush our teeth too hard or too often, causing the surface enamel to wear away more quickly. Again, whilst this can be uncomfortable in its own right, it can also leave the tooth less well protected against tooth decay and other issues.
Managing and treating sensitive teeth
As mentioned earlier we could just avoid food and drinks that cause our teeth to feel sensitive, but as we have seen, this isn’t really the best way forward. Where no major damage has been done to the tooth, discomfort can be reduced temporarily by using a suitable pain killing medication or perhaps a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. There are better and more permanent options available though.
At the Cygnet Dental Practice, we believe in preventative oral care but when problems like sensitive teeth do arise, we have a number of treatments available that can relieve the problem, allowing the patient to live a normal life. The treatment will depend on the nature of the damage caused to the tooth. Cracks and chips in the teeth may be restored using a cosmetic bonding material or a filling depending on the extent of the damage. Where the problem is the wearing down of the enamel, veneers often provide an excellent solution.
Although teeth veneers do often require a partially invasive treatment, they replace the worn and thinning enamel with a natural looking porcelain layer. This is a great way of restoring the tooth and protecting it from the discomfort caused by hot and cold and can last for ten years or more, given appropriate care.
If you have put up with sensitive teeth for some time, remember that it doesn’t have to be this way. Treatments are available at our Wickford dental practice to help you eat and drink comfortably again. To find out how we can help you, please call us to arrange an appointment on 01268 733078.