You may have seen advertisements or even experienced it yourself- a person sampling a hot or cold drink then immediately recoiling in pain from their teeth. This phenomenon is not new; neither is it isolated to a small number of people. More individuals report the onset of tooth pain related to dental sensitivity every day. Unfortunately, at its peak, this condition can be debilitating. When it becomes a constant irritation, you may be suffering from something known as dentin hypersensitivity.
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What is Dentin Hypersensitivity?
Dentin Hypersensitivity is a condition that relates to the nerves. Its onset’s origins lie in the compromise of the tooth enamel. When you examine the tooth’s anatomy, you will discover that each tooth is composed of layers. First, there is the innermost layer, where the nerves are. Next to that is the dentin, a sensitive covering for the nerves that acts as a soft cushion for the enamel. The dentin is directly in contact with the nerves, thus transmitting pain signals whenever something touches it. Finally, there is the outermost layer, known as the enamel. It forms a strong outer coating to protect you from encountering the sensitive inner parts of the tooth.
When your tooth enamel gets eroded, it exposes the inner dentin areas, thus exposing the nerves to contact. It is at this point that sensitivity and pain become an issue.
What Causes Dentin Hypersensitivity?
The most common causes of dentin hypersensitivity usually begin with wearing down the enamel. These include:
- Diet choices, including the prevalent ingestion of sugary and acidic foods.
- Use of a toothbrush with stiff bristles.
- Excessive force while brushing the teeth.
- Being afflicted with other dental conditions like tooth decay, receding gums, damaged fillings or a habit of teeth grinding.
Beyond the causes, the primary trigger of this condition is an attempt to eat food with temperatures at the two extremes. Hot and cold foods become irritants, which, in turn, cause discomfort and pain.
The first step to getting treatment is consulting with your dentist. They will help you discover the underlying causes of dentin hypersensitivity. Therefore, before your appointment, it may be prudent to recall and record as much information as you can. This process may include registering your pain levels and the duration, the onset of the issue, and any triggers. The dental professional will also make follow-up inquiries as needed. From there, they will determine the most appropriate solution to your ailment based on the answers you provide.
In some cases, part of the remedy for dentin hypersensitivity comes from a topical treatment that the dentist prescribes. It may also entail the application of a topical gel during your appointment. Alternatively, there are kinds of toothpaste whose formulations are specifically to help alleviate the symptoms of dentin hypersensitivity. These products work by creating a temporary block between the nerve and outer tooth communication channels. As a result, you gain relief from the discomfort of eating and drinking.
Preventing Dentin Hypersensitivity
Preventing the onset of this condition is often a matter of better dental care and hygiene practices. Therefore, you must endeavour to:
- Be less aggressive while brushing your teeth.
- Switch to using a toothbrush with soft bristles, and when you are experiencing symptoms, use a specialised toothpaste.
- Avoid or limit your intake of acidic and sugary foods. If you do ingest them anyway, rinse with water afterwards.
- Remember to floss your teeth daily.
Finally, it is vital to make and attend regular dentist’s appointments. That annual or twice-yearly visit will help you keep up with your oral health with the help of caring professionals who can better detect any concerns before they escalate.