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Dentin Sensitivity And How To Overcome It

Dentin Sensitivity Attack

One of the common symptoms reported by dental patients is that of dentin hypersensitivity. Symptoms typically appear when a tooth is exposed to chemical or thermal stimulation that results in pain or extreme sensitivity. Dentin is the yellow, porous material that is located directly beneath the enamel layer of your teeth. Also known as dentin sensitivity, this condition can have a serious impact on the sufferer’s quality of life. It can even impact their ability to maintain good nutrition.

An Introduction To Dentin Hypersensitivity

The first step to experiencing dentin sensitivity is generally dentin exposure. Dentin exposure usually occurs when the gum line recedes from gingivitis or periodontitis. This recession exposes the dental roots, which lack the protection of enamel. When these areas are exposed to hot or cold temperatures or foods that are excessively sweet, discomfort can result. In some cases, this can be experienced as excruciating pain. Receding gums are the only cause though, other causes include:

  • Coarse tooth brushing – Over vigorous brushing of the teeth can erode the enamel. As the enamel breaks down, the underlying dentin is exposed. 
  • Fractured teeth – Teeth that have become damaged can expose the dentin, or even the pulp, of the tooth. This can allow infection to set in and for sensitive dentin to be exposed to painful stimuli.
  • Grinding or Clenching Teeth – If you clench or grind your teeth regularly, you may be wearing away the protective surfaces on your teeth. This condition, known as bruxism, is one of those that can lead to dentin sensitivity.
  • Abrading Agents – Charcoal toothpaste, hydrogen peroxide, or baking soda used for whitening the teeth can also damage the enamel. As the enamel gets damaged, dentin gets exposed, and sensitivity results.
  • Overuse Of Mouthwash – While mouthwash is an important part of your oral hygiene practices, it can also create issues for your teeth. Mouthwash is acidic and can aggravate cases of dentin sensitivity.

Treatment of dentin hypersensitivity varies based on the severity of the condition. The first step is a confirmed diagnosis by a dental professional. This process usually involves various techniques intended to stimulate the teeth to cause pain or discomfort. When sensitivity has been confirmed, treatment options will be suggested. These can include dental restoration, changing the type of product you use, and lifestyle changes. There are also more advanced in-office treatment options that can help ease discomfort and reinforce teeth to lower sensitivity.

Speak To Your Dental Provider For Further Steps

No matter what the reason is for your dentin sensitivity, treatment starts with a diagnosis. Get started by reaching out to your dental professional to schedule an appointment. They’ll give you a full exam, discuss your symptoms, and provide treatment options. Dentin sensitivity doesn’t have to be a life sentence. By connecting with your dental provider today, you’ll be able to find ways to reduce or even eliminate your symptoms. You can also get started by reducing the amount of acidic and sugary foods you consume, as well as avoiding overly hot or cold foods in the meantime.

Dr. Karmen Massih Inspired by orthodontics at the age of 10, Dr. Karmen Massih earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at UCLA's School of Dentistry. After earning her certificates in orthodontics at the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to her hometown of Glendale, CA, to begin Massih Orthodontics, a practice dedicated to transforming smiles for people of all ages.