Living with sensitive teeth can mean anything from mild twinges whilst eating cold food, to dealing with severe discomfort that can last for several hours. Sensitivity can develop at any time for any person – although it does tend to be more common in people aged between 20 and 40.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Your teeth have a layer of enamel protecting a softer dentine underneath, but if the enamel layer is thin, or the dentine is exposed, a tooth can become sensitive. There are a number of different things that can cause this, including:
Brushing too hard – which can sometimes wear away the enamel, particularly where the teeth meet the gums.
Dental erosion – which can be caused by acidic food and drinks wearing away the enamel or causing the gums to naturally shrink back, exposing the roots of the teeth.
Gum disease – usually due to a build-up of plaque or tartar that, in really serious cases, can destroy the bone-like support of the tooth itself.
Tooth grinding – this can gradually wear away the enamel of the teeth.
A cracked tooth or problematic filling
Tooth bleaching – many patients find that their teeth are more sensitive after undergoing a whitening treatment at their dentist, particularly if the treatment has not been carried out correctly.
Is there anything I can do to prevent sensitive teeth?
Whilst we always recommend speaking to a dentist about any oral health issues you might have, there are some things that may be able to help soothe the pain of sensitive teeth, including:
Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed. You might want to try using toothpaste that has been specifically designed for sensitive teeth, and try to use small, circular movements rather than brushing your teeth from side to side.
Replacing your toothbrush every two to three months, or sooner if the bristles are beginning to wear down.
Avoiding brushing your teeth straight after eating, as some foods and drinks can soften the enamel of your teeth, making it easier to wear down. Instead, try to leave it for at least an hour after eating before you brush.
Cutting down on sugary foods and fizzy and acidic drinks.
Looking into solutions to help you to stop grinding your teeth in your sleep, such as mouthguards.
Discussing sensitivity with your dentist before undergoing any bleaching procedure.
Visiting your dentist for a check-up regularly.
Legal advice if your dentist has let you down
Unfortunately, in some cases, issues surrounding sensitive teeth can stem from a problematic visit to your dentist that resulted in ongoing issues. Whilst the majority of dentists carry out an excellent job, avoidable accidents can happen if your dentist fails to take the proper care expected when diagnosing and treating you.
If you believe that your dentist may have contributed to your sensitive teeth, or any oral health issues after having visited them, you may be entitled to compensation. At Dental Law Partnership, our team of expert Dental Negligence solicitors are on hand to help you at every step of the way; call us today on 0808 278 8202.