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Are you having problems with sensitive teeth?

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Anyone who suffers from the pain of sensitive teeth knows how excruciating even just one mouthful of ice cream or a gulp of ice cold water can be. Sometimes the pain can be so bad that people start to alter their diet to avoid the shooting pain that they experience when they eat hot, cold or sweet foods. Tooth sensitivity happens when the gum recedes, exposing a substance called “dentin”. This is one of the layers of your tooth which is close to the nerve, usually protected by the gum tissue, but which can cause pain and discomfort when exposed to certain types of food or drink.

Why do I have sensitive teeth?

Some people are just prone to tooth sensitivity, while others bring it upon themselves by brushing their teeth incorrectly or using teeth whitening products that damage the teeth and expose the nerve. If you are experiencing symptoms which sound like sensitive teeth, the first thing you should do is make an appointment to see your dentist. Sensitivity is often an indication of more serious dental health problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease or even bruxism, when people grind their teeth in their sleep.

How to solve the problem

Mild cases can often be dealt with by changing the products you use in your oral hygiene routine. There are several brands on supermarket shelves which claim to help either treat or prevent sensitive teeth, but your dentist is the best person to advise you about what products you should be using. If the sensitivity is really causing you distress, there are a number of treatments available in the dental surgery, ranging from the simple application of a desensitising gel to major procedures like fillings or root canals. Other options include the use of a fluoride rinse or gel to improve your teeth’s natural defences or even a “filling” to replace the lost gum tissue and cover up the exposed dentin.

Sometimes the treatment will depend upon what is causing the sensitivity in the first place. If the dentist thinks you are not taking proper care of your teeth, then you may just get a telling off and be shown how to brush your teeth without damaging the gum tissue. If the sensitivity is caused by teeth grinding, this can be treated by the use of appliances which the patient wears at night to prevent their bad habit. Sometimes a new amalgam filling can cause some temporary sensitivity, but this should ease in time.

Prevent sensitive teeth

The best way to treat sensitivity is to try and avoid it in the first place by brushing, flossing and using mouthwash twice a day, avoiding foods that are high in acid, like citrus fruits, cutting down on sugary snacks and avoiding home teeth whitening kits, unless they have been checked out by your dentist. Make sure you attend regular dental check-ups and mention any mild sensitivity you have experienced, as this will help your dentist to spot any potential areas before they become really painful!

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