Tooth sensitivity, also known as dentin hypersensitivity, is one of the most common dental disorders and refers to a short, sharp pain usually caused by the elimination of dentinal surface protector.
Whereas Dentin contains microscopic tubules which are related to pulp chamber, it becomes sensitive to stimuli. In healthy tooth, enamel protects dentin in crown of tooth and cementum protect it in root. When dentin loss its protective layer, its microscopic tubules allow stimuli such as heat, cold, acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves that exist in pulp chamber.
There are many causes of tooth sensitivity including:
- Injured enamel caused by incorrect or aggressive brushing
- Loss of tooth enamel caused by using acidic food and drinks
- Loss of tooth enamel caused by tooth decay
- Receding gums caused by periodontal disease
Tooth sensitivity is a treatable condition. The type of treatment can vary depending on the cause of it. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site, your dentist may advise one of the following treatments:
- Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block dentin’s microscopic tubules.
- Fluoride gel. An in-office technique which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces tooth sensitivity.
- A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that lead to sensitivity.
- Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.
Like most of oral problems, the best way to prevent tooth sensitivity is maintaining oral hygiene.