People with sensitive teeth find it very uncomfortable. The pain can be very sharp - although it's quite short - it's very sharp. It leads people to avoid things that they would otherwise enjoy in life: hot and cold foods, even sometimes cold wind can cause pain.
People start to develop ways of avoiding the stimuli. Avoidance stops the pain for some people, but there is a choice, you don't have to put up with it.
How do teeth become sensitive?
Teeth become sensitive when the outside covering of the tooth is missing. So that could either be through:
- The gum tissue receding, away from the crown and down to the root of the tooth so some of the root becomes exposed.
- The inside part of the tooth, or the pulp of the tooth, can be stimulated when you put something hot, cold or sweet on the outside of the tooth. The dentine tubules conduct that through to the pulp of the tooth and the nerve fibres are then stimulated and cause pain.
Note that there are other causes of sensitivity and you will need to check with your dentist to be sure that you have dentine hypersensitivity and not some other cause of tooth pain.
What can cause dentine hypersensitivity?
Gums can recede. For example, when you brush your teeth with a hard toothbrush or in the wrong way. Enamel may be lost from the crown of the tooth through excessive intake of acidic foods and drinks.
Does tooth sensitivity get worse over time?
If you keep doing the things that cause the dentine exposure in the first place, then it can get worse over time.
Is teeth sensitivity reversible?
You can't get back the missing enamel or gum tissue, you can block the dentine tubules to help stop the pain.
Can it spread to other teeth?
It's not like a disease. You can limit the number of sensitive teeth you have by adjusting your behaviours:
- Altering your brushing technique so you're not scrubbing your teeth anymore
- Using a soft toothbrush
- Limiting the number of acidic drinks that you have in a day.