Dentinal Hypersensitivity (DH) or Dental Sensitivity is defined as intense and transitory pain that is caused by the exposure of the dentin, the internal part of teeth, to the oral environment and which occurs when contact is made with an external stimulus: food or drink that is cold, hot, acidic, sweet; tactile pressure, etc.
It is the most frequent cause of dental pain, and shows a high prevalence, affecting approximately 1 out of 7 adults and can trigger the onset of oral diseases including caries, gingivitis or periodontitis, if it is not properly treated.
It normally occurs between the ages of 18 and 40, and over recent years it has been observed to increase among young patients because of an excess consumption of acidogenic beverages and the indiscriminate and unsupervised use of tooth whitening products.
A range of things can trigger a tooth sensation for people with sensitive teeth. Here's some of the most common triggers for tooth sensitivity:
Sensitive teeth can be caused by the following dental issues:
Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing gums from receding and causing sensitive-tooth pain. If you brush your teeth incorrectly, or over-brush, your gums may become sensitive. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine.
Most solutions may seem like common sense. After all, preventative measures like consistent quality brushing are the mecca of good dental health. You can expect your dentist to give advice along these lines:
If fluoride varnish is applied to the sensitive teeth in your mouth, this can help to reduce some of the pain and discomfort by strengthening your enamel and dentin. The same goal can be accomplished by having your dentist apply a fluoride gel to your mouth for five minutes.
If you have receding gums due to age or a persistent case of gum disease, sensitive teeth will often develop because of root exposure. If you have sensitive teeth because of exposed roots, bonding agents can be a very good solution. In this type of case, your dentist will help you by using a particular sealant to cover the area that is causing you to experience pain (i.e. the tooth root that has become exposed), sealing the surfaces and thereby blocking exposure to the causes of sensitive teeth.
If you are suffering from sensitive teeth because of bruxism (i.e. grinding your teeth, often while you sleep), your dentist can make a model of your teeth and then use this to produce a mouth guard that you can wear during the night. By protecting your teeth from pressure and damage, this mouth guard can be highly effective at reducing the pain caused by sensitive teeth. It will also treat pain in the jaw joint.
If all else fails and it is thought that your sensitive teeth are seriously undermining your quality of life, your dentist may decide that you are a suitable candidate for root canal treatment. This procedure can effectively compensate for sensitive teeth by removing the soft pulp inside the tooth.
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