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Overview

Teeth sensitivity is characterized as pain caused by hot, cold, sweet, or sour meals and beverages, as well as inhaling cold air. The pain may be strong and unexpected, and it may extend deep into the nerve ends of the tooth. Tooth sensitivity may occur if the underlying layer of the teeth, known as the dentin, gets exposed due to receding gum tissue. Hundreds of microscopic tubules leading to the tooth’s nerve-ending center in the roots, which, unlike the rest of the tooth, are not coated in hard enamel. These dentinal tubules (or channels) enable stimuli such as hot, cold, or sweet food to reach the nerve in the tooth, producing discomfort when the person bites down.

The crowns of the teeth—the region of the teeth above the gum line—are covered by an enamel coating in healthy teeth. A layer of cementum under the gum line protects the tooth root. Dentin is the substance that lies underneath the enamel and cementum.

Dentin is thinner than enamel and cementum and includes minute tubules that help the teeth function normally. Heat, cold, acidic, or sticky foods may reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth if the protective coating of enamel or cementum on the dentin is destroyed. As the gums recede, dentin may become visible. As a consequence, dentine hypersensitivity may develop.

When teeth become sensitive, it is mainly due to erosion of the enamel or exposure of the tooth roots. Other causes of dental discomfort include a cavity, a fractured or chipped tooth, a worn filling, or gum disease.

Sensitive teeth may cause discomfort ranging from a little twinge to intense agony. Pain is a variable feeling that may be more intense on some days than on others. In other circumstances, depending on the cause of the sensitivity, you may not have discomfort in every tooth.

Causes

Numerous factors may lead to the development of tooth sensitivity including the sensitive front teeth, such as the following:

Brushing: Brushing excessively hard or with a stiff-bristled toothbrush may wear down enamel over time, exposing the tooth’s dentin. Additionally, it may result in gum recession making the teeth sensitive.

Gum recession: It occurs when the gums recede away from a tooth due to periodontal disease, exposing the tooth’s root surface. Some people may complain of one tooth sensitive to cold which is also due to the gum recession. Cold sensitivity is an unpleasant sensation that is often caused by enamel erosion or gum recession. Each tooth has nerves, which when inflamed, may cause pain or discomfort. The nerve terminals on the tooth’s surface, such as the enamel, are often protected from harm.

Gum Diseases: Sensitivity may be induced by inflamed and painful gum tissue as a result of the loss of supporting ligaments, exposing the tooth’s root surface, which is directly related to the tooth’s nerve.

Chipped Teeth: Teeth that have been chipped or cracked may get infected with bacteria from plaque and spread to the pulp of the tooth, causing pain and inflammation.

Teeth grinding or clenching: It may wear away the enamel on your teeth, exposing the dentin underneath.

Certain toothpaste: Toothpaste containing baking soda and peroxide has been linked to tooth sensitivity in certain individuals.

Plaque: Sensitization may occur as a consequence of increased plaque growth on the root surfaces.

Mouthwash usage: mouthwashes include acids that may increase dental discomfort in those who have been exposed to tooth enamel due to a cavity. Acids in the mouth further deteriorate the dentin layer of the teeth.

Acidic foods: Consuming foods with a high acid content on a frequent basis, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, and tea, may result in dental enamel erosion.

Dental procedures: Sensitivity may arise after recent dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, crown implantation, root planning, and tooth restoration.

Oral hygiene should be practiced at all times to reduce teeth sensitivity. A soft-bristled toothbrush is suggested since it abrades the tooth surface loss and gives less irritation to the gums.

When to see a doctor

In certain situations, sensitivity is caused by dental disease, broken teeth, or old fillings. Sensitivity in a single area of the mouth may indicate that it is time to arrange an evaluation with your dentist.

You should seek medical attention if:

·         The pain is not relieved by over-the-counter medications

·         There is discomfort when the gums or cheeks expand

·         There is discharge around a tooth

Moreover, teeth that have been broken or knocked out as a consequence of an accident should be reported to the dentist as soon as possible unless they are accompanied with more serious damage.