If your teeth hurt when you eat or drink something hot, cold, sweet or sour, you should tell your dentist. Some people naturally have more sensitive teeth than others, but if your teeth have become more sensitive suddenly or over time, this could be a sign of a dental problem.
If you visit our dentists in Brisbane CBD for a check-up and clean, we offer EMS Airflow® technology to make teeth cleaning less painful for sensitive teeth.
What causes teeth sensitivity?
Sensitive teeth can be uncomfortable, but they're often a sign of a more serious problem. If your teeth feel more sensitive to temperature than they used to, some of the possible reasons could be:
- Brushing too hard – brushing your teeth too roughly or using a firm toothbrush can strip away their hard enamel surface, exposing the more sensitive dentine layer underneath.
- Gum disease – if your gums are red, swollen, tender or bleed when you brush your teeth, you might have gum disease. If this isn't treated, it can cause the gums to pull back from teeth, exposing the more sensitive teeth roots.
- Tooth erosion – acidic food and drink such as soft drinks, fruit juices, wine and vinegar can wear down tooth enamel over time, as can stomach acid from frequent vomiting or acid reflux.
- Tooth infection – if tooth decay reaches the soft centre of your tooth (the dental pulp), this can make the tooth feel more sensitive and painful.
- Chipped or cracked teeth – damage to teeth can also expose the dental pulp or dentine. Cracks in teeth aren't always obvious and can sometimes only be detected by a dental x-ray.
- Teeth grinding – if you grind or clench your teeth at night or during the day, this can wear them down and make them more sensitive over time.
- Dental treatments – sometimes, teeth can become more sensitive as a side-effect of preparing them for dental restorations, such as crowns, fillings or veneers.
When to see a dentist
If your tooth sensitivity is a symptom of an underlying problem, your dentist will try to track down the cause and recommend appropriate treatments. These could make the sensitivity go away, or your dentist can offer advice to help you manage it.
Depending on what's causing the sensitivity, treatment options could include:
- restoring worn or damaged teeth using fillings or crowns
- gum disease treatment to remove bacteria from your gums
- root canal therapy to remove infected tooth pulp and seal the tooth
- teeth grinding treatments such as a dental splint to stop you grinding at night
How to avoid sensitive teeth
To reduce discomfort and stop damaging your teeth further, dentists may recommend:
- avoiding overly hot, cold, sweet or sour food and drinks
- brushing and flossing your teeth more gently
- swapping your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head for one with softer bristles
- using toothpaste specially designed for sensitive teeth
It's also important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups and teeth cleaning, so an oral hygienist can remove plaque from your teeth that could cause decay or gum disease. If you're worried about dental hygiene treatments being painful for your teeth, ask your dental clinic if they offer less invasive options.
At Face Value Dental, we offer EMS Airflow guided biofilm therapy that uses air, warm water and fine powder to clean teeth with minimal contact for less discomfort. Our hygienists might still need to use traditional cleaning instruments if you have any hardened calculus deposits on your teeth.
Talk to a dentist in Brisbane CBD
If you want to know more about EMS Airflow technology or treatments for sensitive teeth, contact our team at Face Value Dental today.
Australian Dental Association. Ouch! I have sensitive teeth [Online] 2016 [Accessed July 2019] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/getattachment/Your-Dental-Health/Resources-for-Professionals/Resources-for-Teens-12-17/Ouch-I-have-sensitive-teeth/Ouch!-I-have-sensitive-teeth.pdf.aspx