Teeth which are sensitive can be a sign of a deeper problem.
For many, having sensitive teeth stops them from enjoying their favourite food or beverage, but it does not have to be this way! While yes, it can be normal to experience sensitivity on occasion, if this happens on a regular basis, then it’s likely that there may be something going on…
Healthy teeth rarely experience sensitivity as they are protected by a thick outer layer called the enamel, which helps insulate them (think of it like a jacket). Now imagine walking outside in winter without a jacket on – you’ll get cold very quickly!
Why are my teeth sensitive?
The most common causes of sensitive teeth include:
- Gum Recession – When gums recede or shrink, they expose the root surface of the tooth which lacks a protective enamel coating, leaving your teeth exposed!
- Worn Teeth – This is where the outer protective layer (enamel) is worn away dueto grinding, excessive brushing, or acid erosion
- Tooth Decay (Cavities) – In its early stages, tooth decay is generally painless. However, larger cavities begin to aggravate the nerve inside a tooth which can make it sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet.
Depending on the cause of your sensitivity the treatment may involve:
- Topical Desensitization – If your sensitivity is caused by gum recession, then applying a desensitizing agent to the expose root surface can help make them more comfortable.
- Gum Graft – If your gum recession is severe, then one option is to replace the missing gum tissue with a gum graft.
- Tooth-Coloured Fillings – If your sensitivity was caused by a cavity and the nerve is still intact, then a filling may be required. This is where the hole inside the tooth is cleaned and the tooth restored back to its original shape with a tooth-coloured filling material.
- Porcelain Crown – If your tooth is severely compromised then it may require a cap/crown to be rebuilt. Old fashioned caps/crowns often appeared dark and black around the gum line. However, modern crowns are made from a beautiful porcelain ceramic which appears so natural in can be hard to spot the difference!