There are very few people who have never experienced that sudden jarring pain following a bite into ice cream or taking a sip from an ice-cold or hot drink.
This article will consider the causes, the dos and dont’s, the prevention and the maintenance of tooth sensitivity (fancy name: dentine hypersensitivity – DHS).
There is a wide variety of dental pains (aren’t we lucky!). If you’re suffering from sensitivity this will be a sharp, instantaneous, short-lived pain, which almost always will have a triggering cause.
DHS can have a detrimental effect on the quality of life. It causes a lot of discomforts, which can lead to a person avoiding particular foods, avoiding toothbrushing (which could lead to other dental conditions such as tooth decay and/or gum disease) and becoming fairly anxious (i.e. being constantly apprehensive about when the next episode will happen).
Sensitivity develops due to tooth surface loss, whereby the outside protective layer of the tooth (enamel) is lost and the dentine becomes exposed (which is a very sensitive tooth tissue).
There are a few ways you can manage DHS at home.
However, sometimes intervention by the dentist or dental therapist deems necessary.
Some methods are (but not limited to): application of desensitising agents or fluoride varnish, prescription of toothpaste with high fluoride content, placing a filling on the affected area to protect the tooth from further damage and reduce the sensitivity.
Here’s a list of things you can do at home:
Did you know?
Different types of sensitive toothpaste work differently. If you find that the one you use isn’t effective after using it for a while, try to switch to a different make.
Even if you are certain that you are suffering from tooth sensitivity it is advisable to consult your dentist (the latest at your routine check-up or sooner if your symptoms are getting worse).
DHS can be a real burden. Some people think that this is something they need to tolerate and live with. However, there are methods/treatments to reduce and sometimes even to eliminate it.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be the person who has to say no to a lovely ice-cold drink (non-alcoholic, obviously) on a hot, sunny day.
By Hajnalka Takacs
(qualified dental nurse and oral health educator)
N.B.: The author confirms that the content of this article is created solely for educational purposes. The content is for non-commercial use only, and in no ways, the author has gained any financial benefit from the platform it has been uploaded to or from any of the companies mentioned in the text of the article.