Sensitive teeth are experienced by about 1 in 4 adults at some time during their lives. The most common cause of generalized sensitivity is the exposure of root surfaces or when dentin (the porous surface under the enamel) is exposed. These areas have tubules which contain fluid and nerve endings.
Common triggers of sensitivity:
- Cold or hot food or drinks
- Sweet or sour foods and liquids
- Brushing or touching the area
- Acidic drinks
Generally the pain is intense and quick but the duration lasts only a few seconds. Pain which lasts a long time usually has more serious consequences therefore other causes must be ruled out. There are dental procedures and home products that can bring relief to exposed areas.
Causes of sensitivity:
- Chipped teeth
- Gum recession
- Toothbrush abrasion
- Acid erosion
- Use of desensitizing toothpaste
- Application of a varnish solution by your dentist or hygienist which seals the tubules
- Bonding agents applied by your dentist
- Testoration or filling
Research has shown that it is the fluids moving through the tubules that cause nerve type pain. Fluid moves through when triggers like cold for example, are present. Potassium nitrate or strontium chloride are the ingredients that block nerve transmission. These ingredients are found in the toothpastes and varnish agents. When using any sensitive type toothpaste use it for at least a month since this protection builds over time.