Hypersensitivity is a condition where the teeth become extremely sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. The sensitivity can be so severe that it causes pain. Hypersensitivity can also make it difficult to brush and floss your teeth.
There are two types of hypersensitivity: primary and secondary. Primary hypersensitivity is when the teeth are naturally sensitive. Secondary hypersensitivity is when the teeth become sensitive due to an underlying dental condition, such as tooth decay or periodontal disease.
Causes of Hypersensitivity:
There are a number of factors that can contribute to hypersensitivity. These include:
1. Wearing Down Of The Enamel:
Enamel is the hard, outer layer of your teeth. It can be worn down by aggressive brushing, acidic foods and drinks, and tooth grinding (bruxism). When the enamel wears down, it exposes the underlying dentin. Dentin is a softer material that is full of tiny pores. These pores allow hot, cold, or sweet substances to reach the nerves in your teeth, which can cause pain.
2. Gum Recession:
Gum recession is when the gum tissue around your teeth starts to pull back. This exposes more of the root of your tooth. The root is made of a material called cementum. Cementum is softer than enamel and does not have the same protective properties. This makes the root more susceptible to damage and can lead to hypersensitivity.
3. Cracked Teeth:
Cracks in your teeth can also expose the dentin and make your teeth more sensitive.
4. Tooth Decay:
Tooth decay is another common cause of hypersensitivity. When tooth decay occurs, it creates a hole in the tooth. This hole can reach the dentin and expose the nerves, leading to pain.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar. Tartar can irritate the gums and lead to gum disease. Gum disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. This exposes more of the root and can make your teeth sensitive.
6. Dental Procedures:
Dental procedures, such as tooth whitening, can sometimes cause hypersensitivity. This is usually temporary and will go away once your teeth have healed.
Symptoms of Hypersensitivity:
The main symptom of hypersensitivity is pain. The pain can be sharp, throbbing, or burning. It can be triggered by hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. The pain may only last for a few seconds or it may lingered. In some cases, the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
Other symptoms of hypersensitivity include:
- Difficulty eating: You may find it difficult to eat certain foods because of the pain.
- Difficulty drinking: You may find it difficult to drink cold or hot beverages because of the pain.
- Difficulty brushing: You may find it difficult to brush your teeth because of the pain.
Treatment for Hypersensitivity:
There are a number of treatments that can help to relieve hypersensitivity. These include:
1. Desensitizing Toothpaste:
This type of toothpaste contains ingredients that help to block the pain associated with hypersensitivity. You can find desensitizing toothpaste at most drugstores.
2. Fluoride Gel:
This gel is applied to the teeth and helps to strengthen the enamel. It can also help to reduce sensitivity.
3. Dental Bonding:
This procedure involves applying a tooth-colored resin to the teeth. It can help to protect the tooth and reduce sensitivity.
4. Root Canal:
This procedure is done when the nerve of the tooth becomes damaged. It involves removing the damaged nerve and filling the space with a rubber-like material.
5. Gum Graft:
This procedure is done when the gum tissue around the teeth has receded. It involves taking tissue from another part of the mouth and grafting it to the affected area.
There are a few things you can do to prevent hypersensitivity. These include:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day: This will help to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth.
- Flossing daily: This will help to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.
- Using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth: This type of toothpaste can help to block the pain associated with hypersensitivity.
- Visiting your dentist regularly: This will help to identify any problems early and prevent them from getting worse.
Hypersensitivity is a common condition that can cause pain when you eat or drink certain foods and beverages. The pain is caused by the exposure of the dentin, which is the layer under the enamel. There are a number of treatments that can help to relieve hypersensitivity. These include desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride gel, and dental bonding. In most cases, hypersensitivity can be treated.