Dentinal Hypersensitivity

Dentinal Hypersensitivity

Tooth pain without the presence of cavities

Why do some people experience tooth pain even though they do not have any tooth decay? How can a tooth be sensitive to heat, cold, acid or sugar?

First, it is necessary to understand the structure of a tooth. The dental pulp is the central part of a tooth. It is composed of tiny blood vessels and nerves, which are keeping the tooth alive. The pulp is linked with the main nerve from the end of each root. Thanks to this connection, the tooth has the capacity to receive and send signals.

The cause of tooth sensitivity

Tiny channels called tubules connect the pulp to the outer layer of dentine. The openings of these small channels act like receptors of sensations. These receptors are normally well protected under their “armour” (the enamel and cementum). But when this protective layer is no longer sufficient to seal the tubules, receptors are directly exposed and the sensations are virtually instantaneous.

The tubules can easily be uncovered:

  • By a thinning of the crown enamel (caused by acids, wear and tear);
  • By gingival recession (gum loss at the level of the tooth crown, which uncovers the cementum, the protective layer of the root).

Thus, even without tooth decay, the weakened teeth can feel sharp and sudden pain. Fortunately, there are several methods to correct this problem.

Ways to reduce or eliminate dentinal sensitivity

First, it is necessary to desensitize your teeth as soon as possible. The use of toothpaste for sensitive teeth will temporarily seal the tubules and stop these sudden pains when in contact with stimuli. The use of a mouthwash for sensitive teeth may also help you.

Changing your tooth brushing habits

You will need to change your brushing habits if they are responsible for your sensitive teeth. Indeed, brushing with too much intensity can contribute to loosening of the teeth (the gums shrink and leave a portion of roots exposed). You must choose a toothbrush with very soft bristles. Avoid putting pressure on the base of your gums and brush them rather by slight rotational movements. These tips will avoid the accelerating of the gingival recession.

Stopping teeth grinding

If you grind or clench your teeth, consult your dentist. They can certainly give you advice on how to stop this habit. They can also make you a mouth guard (bite-plate) covering the occlusal surfaces of all teeth to protect them against wear and tear during the night.

Applying a varnish or a resin to your teeth

If nothing else helps, it is possible to apply a varnish or a resin that will cover sensitive teeth. These applications must be reassessed regularly because their life expectancy can be limited, according to the condition of your mouth.

Considering a gum graft

If the gingival recession is too advanced, ask your dentist about the available treatments. You may need to consider a gum transplant to cover exposed roots.