Do you feel a short, sharp jolt of nerve pain in a particular tooth or a specific dental area when you eat something hot or cold, or sour? You might be suffering from tooth sensitivity. Explaining the phenomenon, Dr Diksha Tahilramani Batra, Prosthodontist, Implantalogist, and Smile Design Specialist, talks about the difference between what’s regular sensitivity and hypersensitivity of teeth.
Dr Batra of the clinic, The Pain Free Dentist, says, “Dentinal sensitivity or tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints that we get as dentists. To really deal with sensitivity, we must know the difference between what’s normal sensitivity and hypersensitivity of teeth.” She adds, “Our teeth being sensitive to biting into ice cream or sometimes chattering in extremely cold weather is considered a normal level of sensitivity and it is present as a protective mechanism in each individual. However when this response is elicited throughout our normal eating and drinking functions and hampers our lifestyle, then it becomes a red flag and needs definitive treatment.”
Dr Batra suggests the adoption of 3 approaches to make one’s teeth immune to sensitivity:
1) Finding the root cause
2) Adopting a cure
3) Prevention for the future
Tooth Sensitivity: How To Tackle The Dental Problem
Dr Diksha Tahilramani Batra tells us how to tackle tooth sensitivity:
1. Get to the Cause First
Sensitivity is our body’s signaling mechanism to alert us to maintain the health of our teeth and must not be ignored. For any sensitivity that is not weather or food temperature related and continues for a few days, it must be checked at the earliest to actually limit any long-term damage.
2. Using Sensitivity Toothpaste
If your teeth are worn down, aged or just generally have less enamel then sensitivity will be more generalized and present in almost all of your teeth. The easiest solution to deal with this is to make sure you start a monthly usage of sensitive toothpaste which builds back a protective layer to block the sensitive areas of your teeth. This should however be used intermittently every month or so and not continuously as it offers minimal decay protection.
3. Fillings for Sensitive Teeth
Sensitivity is also a symptom of diseased and decayed teeth and is basically the sign before pain. When decay reaches the second layer of the tooth it tends to manifest as sensitivity to sweet or hot and sometimes cold. It’s important not to ignore this symptom and get the decay removed and restored with a filling or we can end up needing a root canal treatment.
4. Avoid Extremes of Temperatures
Our teeth are also living tissue housing a nerve and will definitely react to extremes of temperature such as biting into ice or ice-cream. While these things might be enjoyable to consume, they must be limited so the extremes of temperature do not make your teeth susceptible to sensitivity.
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5. Better Your Habits
Habitual exposure to aerated beverages on a daily basis in large quantities can trigger sensitivity. Even habits like biting into lemons or gooseberries can lead to long-term side sensitivity; even though these foods have health benefits, they should be consumed without direct exposure to teeth with a straw.
Certain dental treatments also cause transient sensitivity such as deep fillings, replacing silver fillings, and even bleaching, but this should settle in a few days and must be discussed with your care provider.
While tooth sensitivity might be easier to bear than tooth pain, it can be an indication to us that the teeth need care and the sensitivity must not be ignored.
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