There is nothing as satisfying as the little pleasures in life, such as biting a whole chunk of ice cream without a care in the world. Enjoying such satisfaction can be a hurdle if you have sensitive teeth, also known as dentin hypersensitivity. This is a concern that affects many people, and its primary symptom is pain or discomfort when you take hot or cold foods. It can affect a single tooth, several teeth, or the whole dental. If you suffer from dentin hypersensitivity in Carson, CA, turn to Washington Dental for reliable help. We will study your symptoms to understand your concern in-depth and offer the most dependable treatments.
Most oral problems mainly affect adults and the elderly. However, dentin hypersensitivity has no age limits. While it is more common in people between the age of 20 and 40, it can also affect kids, teenagers, and senior citizens above the age of 70 years. The good news is that treatment doesn’t always have to be complex and invasive. Sometimes, it is possible to treat the concern by simply changing your oral hygiene regimen.
What Is Dentin Hypersensitivity?
Dentin sensitivity, tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity is caused by dentin exposure. Some of the chief causes of this concern include receding gum lines and enamel acid erosion caused by acidic foods and beverages.
The enamel is a solid protective layer that makes it comfortable to chew or consume all kinds of foods and drinks. On the other hand, the roots of a tooth feature tiny dentinal tubules that connect to the tooth nerves. If exposed, the dentin tubules overexcite nerve receptors upon contact with stimuli, which causes pain or discomfort.
Dentin hypersensitivity patients often have more dentinal tubules, or their tubules are more open. The dentinal tubules in humans measure about 2.42 microns in diameter. Moreover, there can be about 15,385 tubules per square millimeter, meaning that you may experience devastating sharp, shooting, or stabbing pain even if your dentin is not highly exposed.
Because the roots lack a protective enamel layer, patients experience sharp pain if exposed to chemical, osmotic, or thermal stimuli. Dentin sensitivity may also cause tactile sensitivity, resulting in pain upon mechanical contact with objects such as toothbrushes or cutlery.
Even though tooth sensitivity is characterized by a sharp pain that only lasts for a few minutes or seconds, this concern can take a toll on your quality of life. Note that you may experience this sharp pain even when doing everyday activities such as laughing. Moreover, eroded enamel or exposed tooth roots may have a poor aesthetic appearance.
Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth trigger pain or discomfort in response to certain stimuli.
These stimuli may include:
- Hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages
- Cold air
- Alcohol-based mouth rinses
- Mechanical contact with toothbrush or flossing tape
Each case of dentin hypersensitivity is different. While some patients only experience mild discomfort, others experience intense pain. Moreover, the symptoms may go away gradually for some patients, while others may have no choice but to seek professional help.
Some of the symptoms of tooth sensitivity include:
- Pain or discomfort when chewing or biting down
- Tooth pain that arises from no apparent cause
- Tooth sensitivity in one tooth
- Staining on the surface of the sensitive tooth or teeth
It remains imperative to understand that tooth sensitivity is sometimes an early symptom of periodontal disease. This is a concern that affects just about 50% of adults above the age of 30 years.
Some of the symptoms that may indicate gum tissue infections or periodontal disease include:
- Receding gums
- Painful or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Sore or loose teeth
- Bleeding gums
Like most dental concerns, periodontal disease tends to go from bad to worse if left untreated. Poor oral hygiene practices often cause this concern. If you experience persistent or excessive tooth sensitivity coupled with the above symptoms, it is in your best interests to visit your dentist immediately.
Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Some people have naturally thinner enamels, and this makes them more vulnerable to teeth sensitivity. This concern can also arise because of dentin exposure. The dentin is where the teeth meet the gums or the root structure underneath the enamel.
Tooth wear can be caused by a variety of concerns, including:
One of the most common causes of dentin hypersensitivity is brushing too hard. The enamel can also wear out quickly if you brush side to side. A freshly exposed dentin tends to be more sensitive to stimuli such as sweet, cold, or hot foods.
Overuse of Abrasive Teeth Cleaning Agents
People with meticulous oral hygiene are indeed more vulnerable to teeth sensitivity. Apart from brushing the teeth too hard, this concern can arise from the overenthusiastic use of mouthwashes. While using quality mouthwash can kill oral bacteria and keep your breath fresh for longer, such solutions also contain acids that can be detrimental to your oral health if overused. It is also necessary to choose an alcohol-free mouth rinse because it will be less irritating to your sensitive teeth.
Likewise, the overuse of teeth whitening agents like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can result in enamel damage. This, in return, leaves the deeper layers of your teeth exposed, causing dentin hypersensitivity.
Dental erosion is when the enamel wears out because of excessive exposure to acidic foods and beverages. This concern is known to make the gums shrink back (recede), exposing a tooth’s root. The root surfaces of your teeth are more sensitive because they lack an enamel layer.
Another common cause of dentin hypersensitivity is gum disease. When plaque and tartar are allowed to build up, bacteria may colonize your mouth, causing oral health concerns like gingivitis and gum diseases. Such problems make the gums recede, creating pockets around the teeth that expose the dentin. Just like teeth, the gum tissue can also wear away naturally, causing receding gums.
When gum issues go without treatment, they tend to worsen because it is challenging to keep gum “pockets” clean and bacteria-free. Untreated gum disease can also destroy the bony support of the teeth.
If you have receding gums, make sure you take your oral hygiene a notch higher and brush twice daily for two minutes. Most importantly, visit your dentist for treatment as soon as possible.
People who grind or clench their teeth at night are at higher risk of teeth sensitivity. Such habits cause the enamel to wear down, again exposing the dentin. Your dentist can prescribe a Night Guard to help protect your teeth from unnecessary damage.
Patients who suffer from bruxism may clench, grind or gnash their teeth even during the day. In this case, your dentist may recommend using an occlusal splint. You could also try stress-relieving medications or activities such as deep breathing and yoga.
A broken tooth or one with a cavity can expose the dentin. The gap may also harbor bacteria, allowing it to get into the tooth’s pulp and cause inflammation or tooth sensitivity.
Worn-down dental work can also make your teeth sensitive. It is crucial to visit your dentist to have crowns or fillings checked at least twice yearly. As you plan your visit, try using clove oil or saltwater rinse to manage the sensitivity.
Tooth crowning, scaling, whitening, or filling are standard restorative procedures that can also cause dentin hypersensitivity. Even so, such sensitivity tends to recover naturally within 4 —6 weeks following a procedure.
Tips To Prevent Dentin Hypersensitivity
Dentin sensitivity can heal naturally within a few days, depending on its cause. If your oral health is relatively good, but your teeth are a bit sensitive, here are a few tips that may help:
Use Fluoride Toothpaste
First, it is essential not to underestimate the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene. Secondly, make sure you use fluoride toothpaste twice daily, or even better —toothpaste uniquely designed for sensitive teeth. Note that these kinds of toothpaste don’t work instantly, and it may take a few days or weeks for you to experience their effect.
Brush your teeth at night and at least one other time during the day, with fluoride toothpaste containing at least 1350ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. Consider using toothpaste specially designed for sensitive teeth.
Make Some Dietary Changes
One of the common causes of tooth sensitivity is acidic foods and drinks. If such foods are causing the untimely wear of your teeth’ enamel, some dietary changes may help. Consider balancing your diet with alkaline foods such as root vegetables, cauliflower, leafy greens, and broccoli. The idea is to neutralize the acidity and, by extension, protect your enamel from eroding further.
Change Your Toothbrush
If you suffer from dentin hypersensitivity caused by toothbrush abrasion, it may be time to throw out your hard toothbrush. Use a soft or medium bristled brush, and be sure to change it after every 2 to 3 months.
Moreover, it is enough to brush your teeth only twice a day. Use light, gentle, circular movements and light strokes instead of vigorous and harsh strokes. Also, avoid brushing the teeth from side to side. If you are finding it challenging to brush without exerting too much force, try using your non-dominant hand or attempt to hold your toothbrush with only your thumb and index finger.
A manual toothbrush can clean your teeth effectively without causing any oral problems if used correctly. If you are worried about hurting your enamel and gums, consider using an electric toothbrush.
Don't Brush Directly After Eating
Another excellent tip is to take at least an hour before brushing your teeth after meals. Some foods and beverages soften the enamel, and this can make your teeth more vulnerable to tactile sensitivity.
Don’t Skip Your Routine Dental Checkups
It is crucial to visit your dentist at least two times each year for routine checkups. This ensures that any potential issues of concern are caught early and addressed before they go from bad to worse. In case you try the above tips with no improvement, your dentist can provide more reliable solutions.
How Are Sensitive Teeth Diagnosed?
It takes having an accurate diagnosis for dentin sensitivity to provide the correct treatment. First, your dentist will consider your medical history and symptoms to establish the intensity and stability of pain. The expert will also consider factors that may reduce or exaggerate the pain and discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity.
Skilled dentists can employ a range of diagnostic methods, including the use of a water spray, a probe, or a jet of air to stimulate sensitivity and identify the affected tooth or teeth. Through physical and visual exams, the professional will also identify other concerns that may cause dentin hypersensitivities, such as receding gums, loose fillings, and cavities.
Understanding How Dentin Hypersensitivity Is Treated
Help is available for patients suffering from dentinal hypersensitivity. It is not necessary to resign to living with this problem. One of the most effective ways of treating tooth sensitivity is to remove factors that trigger the condition. For instance, you could begin by avoiding hard tooth brushing techniques, reducing your intake of highly acidic foods, and seeking dental restoration for fractured teeth.
Often, most patients will begin by trying out over-the-counter desensitizing products such as tubes of toothpaste containing potassium nitrate. Even though desensitizing products interfere with nerve impulse and reduce nerve excitation to make teeth less sensitive to stimuli, they don’t always provide lasting solutions.
Using at-home desensitizing agents in the form of toothpaste, mouthwashes, chewing gums, or tooth powders has several limitations, which include:
- Slow onset of pain relief
- The necessity to use a product daily
- No targeted delivery to a tooth’s exact site of sensitivity
If you need lasting solutions, it is best to seek professional desensitizing treatments offered by dentists during office visits. The experts use highly concentrated fluoride varnishes or resins to occlude (block) open dentinal tubules physically.
Other desensitizing agents dentists use include dentin bonding agents, bioglass, composite, 2% sodium fluoride and oxalates. These agents work by interrupting the nerve impulses causing sensitivity or sealing the dentinal tubules.
Other approaches a dentist may use to alleviate or manage dentin hypersensitivity include:
- Dental restoration and
- Root canal
- Gingival grafting (surgical gum grafting)
- Laser therapy
- Mouthguard for nighttime bruxism
Home Remedies for Pain Relief from Tooth Sensitivity
There are effective remedies for treating tooth sensitivity naturally. Note that these remedies are only likely to work if the underlying cause of a condition is not a major oral health problem. It remains necessary to consult with a dentist if the sensitivity doesn’t go away within a few days.
Let’s have a look at some of the best home remedies for treating tooth sensitivity:
Use Salt water rinse
Gargling with salt water twice daily can help treat or manage dentin hypersensitivity. Salt is a powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory and it can address mild gum issues.
Here is how to use salt water rinse:
- Add half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water
- Mix the solution thoroughly
- Gargle with the salt water for up to 30 seconds
- Spit it out and use your regular alcohol free mouthwash
Rinse With Hydrogen Peroxide
Like salt, hydrogen peroxide is also a mild disinfectant and antiseptic. You can use it as part of your first aid kit to sterilize burns, cuts and minor wounds. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used as a mouthwash to sterilize inflamed gums and reduce tooth sensitivity.
Here is how to use it as a mouthwash:
- Add three caps of hydrogen peroxide to a glass of warm water
- Gargle with the solution for about 30 seconds
- Spit it out and rinse with water
Rinse With Warm Water and Honey
Honey is a powerful antibacterial agent. You can use it to treat wounds and prevent scarring. Honey can also be used to reduce oral pain, swelling, inflammation and sensitivity.
Here is how to use warm water and honey solution:
- Add a spoonful of honey to a glass of warm water
- Stir the solution thoroughly
- Gargle with the mixture and spit it out
If you have an interest in healthy living, chances are that you always have turmeric in your kitchen. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory because it contains curcumin. Turmeric accelerates the healing of wounds and can help alleviate the pain caused by dentin sensitivity.
You can use turmeric by using a piece of it to massage the site of the sensitive tooth. Alternatively, mix one teaspoon of powdered turmeric with half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of mustard oil. Rub the paste on the sensitive tooth or gums two times each day.
The health benefits of green tea are well-known. Green tea is effective in cancer prevention and it can also enhance your cardiovascular health. It contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that are also ideal for your oral health.
If you are experiencing dentin hypersensitivity, you can rinse your mouth with unsweetened green tea two times daily. This will alleviate sensitivity, reduce oral inflammation and strengthen your teeth.
Hot peppers, including chili peppers contain a compound called Capsaicin. This compound contains analgesic properties, and is hence useful in treating pain and inflammation.
Using hot peppers that contain capsaicin may burn a little, although you will also experience pain relief after a short while. Simply use the pepper as a mouthwash or tropical gel.
You can also treat tooth sensitivity by using vanilla extract. It contains pain-relieving and antiseptic properties that can enhance your oral health and wellness.
Use a cotton ball and soak it with vanilla extract. Apply it on the sensitive gum line for several minutes to get rid of the pain or discomfort.
The human nervous system is like an internal electrical system. It is made up of neurons, nerves and nerve cells that coordinate a pain response to protect you from danger. Note that pain is an abnormal sensation, making it crucial not to ignore the pain or discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity. In this case, the pain response is a protective measure meant to notify you of a diseased or impacted structure in your teeth or gums.
The above remedies can effectively treat mild issues caused by inflammation. If symptoms persist, don’t overlook the need to schedule a treatment with an experienced dentist. Sometimes, dentin hypersensitivity is caused by severe oral health concerns like Pulpitis, Apical Periodontitis, and Periodontal Abscess.
1. Can Dentin Hypersensitivity Be Treated?
Dentin hypersensitivity can be treated by addressing the root cause of the concern. The world of dentistry has advanced tremendously over the years, making fixes for all kinds of oral health concerns available. Sometimes, simple procedures like a root canal, tooth extraction, or restorative dentistry can effectively treat tooth sensitivity.
2. Is Tooth Sensitivity Genetic?
Yes. There are inherited traits that can make you more vulnerable to enamel erosion and dentin hypersensitivity. You may also be at higher risk of having sensitive teeth due to genetic predispositions such as how your dentin is formed.
3. How Can A Dentist Help?
Dentists are trained to treat oral concerns from their roots. As such, your dentist can treat dentin hypersensitivity by tackling the concern based on your symptoms. If you grind or clench your teeth because of stress, for instance, the expert may prescribe stress-relieving medications. On the other hand, if tooth sensitivity is caused by malocclusion, treatment may involve repositioning your jaw, adjusting your bite, and various other smile makeover efforts.
Find Washington Dental Near Me
Studies show that one in every eight people has experienced dentinal hypersensitivity at some point. While some people choose to cope with the pain for years, it is better to seek help from your dentist. At Washington Dental, we believe that each patient has unique needs and requirements. That is why we provide tailor-made services to ensure that each client enjoys a top-quality and personalized treatment experience. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity in Carson, CA, give us a call at 310-217-1507 for a no-obligation consultation.