Nothing gets your attention like a sensitive tooth – especially when you’re trying to enjoy an icy treat or mug of your favorite hot drink. A sharp shooting pain is often the result – reminding you that your tooth (or teeth) needs some attention and TLC.
Calgary General Dentist – Dr. Rhemtulla of Centennial Smiles – explains that tooth sensitivity can affect patients of all ages, but does tend to be more of a concern in adult patients as the natural aging process and wear and tear of teeth can lead to heightened sensitivity. But the good news is that tooth sensitivity can be treated – and the steps you take to lessen sensitivity also help improve your overall dental health.
Tooth Sensitivity is frequently associated with a tooth that has sustained either acute or chronic trauma. Acute trauma, usually related to an accident, is witnessed when the tooth is chipped or broken – as the nerve of the tooth can be either exposed or injured – resulting in extreme sensitivity which only dissipates once the injured tooth has been treated. Chronic tooth trauma is caused by clenching and grinding where enamel, the hard protective outer layer of teeth, is worn down exposing the softer underlying tissue known as dentin. Because dentin is a much softer tissue and is porous due to hundreds of microscopic openings called Tubules – nerve stimulation is heightened as the tubules act as funnels that transfer external stimuli straight to the nerve of the tooth.
Just like dentin and tubules are exposed due to the grinding away of enamel – dentin is also exposed due to gum recession. When the gums shrink away from the neck of the tooth the root is exposed. Roots of teeth don’t have a protective layer of enamel, so it doesn’t take long before the softer dentin and open tubules are funneling temperature changes straight to the life centre of a tooth.
Plaque is a clear sticky film that contains millions of bacteria. When you eat, the bacteria feed off the sugars in food and release acids that erode tooth enamel and cause gums to become inflamed and pull away from the irritation. The erosion of enamel can eventually lead to dental decay – but prior to a full-blown cavity the tooth will experience increased sensitivity that flares-up with temperature and pressure changes. Keeping tooth surfaces free from plaque not only protects gums from irritation and inflammation but helps lessen the risk of acid erosion that causes tooth sensitivity.
To discover what can be done to treat sensitive teeth – contact Centennial Smiles today (587) 317-7959 – or visit us online at centennialsmiles.ca