Tooth Sensitivity

Dentin Hypersensitivity, more commonly know as tooth sensitivity, typically has three main causes. One is cause gingival recession which exposes the sensitive tooth dentin in the root structure of the tooth as your gums recede. The second cause for hypersensitivity is acid erosion caused by the acidic foods commonly found in every day diets. The third cause is aggressively brushing your teeth with a tooth paste that has a higher amount of abrasion. Brushing too aggressively can wear away tooth enamel and make your gums recede causing your dentition to become exposed.  Tooth sensitivity is often thought of as the “common cold” for the dental care industry as it is a common oral condition that affects many patients.  If you have tooth sensitivity as a patient of Dr. Theobald’s please bring this issue to our attention during your next dental appointment.

In a recent dental study of Tooth Sensitivity, 75% or more dental hygienists and dentist felt that gum recession, tooth wear, and acid erosion were the main cause of  Dentin Hypersensitivity to a point where it negatively affected the patient’s’ quality of life.  About 1/3 of adult dental patients suffer from tooth sensitivity even though patients are not always routinely screened for this condition. Our office feels this complaint should be addressed and managed as part of an overall treatment plan.

Tooth sensitivity can be described as short, sharp pain arising from the exposed root surface as a response to hot and cold, foods or fluids, soreness, inhaling and exhaling on exposed dentin, or chemical reaction to acidic foods. By reducing exposure time to foods that have a low ph like sports drinks, soda, oranges, strawberries and Ice tea you can reduce some of the causes of tooth sensitivity and erosion of the enamel. Switching to a soft bristled tooth brush and brushing in the correct manor will help reduce wear and enamel erosion.  Another over the counter solution for tooth sensitivity is the use of anti-sensitivity or desensitizing tooth paste. The tooth paste should ideally have a desensitizing therapeutic agents ( Potassium nitrate or Stannous fluoride ), low abrasion, and high fluoride content  (Sodium fluoride)  to help re-harden acid-affected enamel. If you have irritated gums look for a desensitizing tooth paste with out SLS (Sodium lauryl sulfate ) because some patients experience sensitivity to this foaming agent.

Wanting to whiten your teeth but they are too sensitive, ask Dr. Theobald which desensitizing tooth paste could help make the tooth whitening process more comfortable.