Sensitive Teeth

Jan 2016

By: Skygate Dental


What you should know & What can be done to help
What is a tooth made of?

Enamel – The hard exterior covering the outside of the tooth. This is often referred to as the crown of the tooth or the portion we can directly see.

Dentine – Represents the next layer immediately underneath the enamel. The dentine layer is composed of many dentine tubules, which if exposed and open play a role in stimulating nerve sensations in the pulp.

Pulp – Is the internal core of the tooth, with nerve bundles and blood vessels.

What is dentine sensitivity?

It is a rather common phenomenon to suffer from occasional sensitivity; for example that cold sensation from biting into an ice cream. However, if the root surfaces of the teeth are exposed due to gum recession this experience can be greatly exacerbated.

When the gum tissue drops or recedes the dentine begins to become exposed. The microscopic dentine tubules within the dentine begin to become more exposed and thus open to thermal sensitivity.

What can be done to help?

It is still possible to seal dentine tubules causing the sensitivity. This can be done by two main methods. The first would be via a conservative approach, through the use of remineralizing toothpastes or topical creams. The goal of these products is to provide free calcium and phosphate so they can be reincorporated into the tooth structure, closing the dentine tubules and decreasing sensitivity. Generally, the toothpastes can take a few applications or a few weeks to provide relief. On the other hand some of the available creams and varnishes are able to provide faster results.

If the conservative approach has not achieved the desired results, then the second method for resolving dentine sensitivity is through the use of a filling material. This method involves directly sealing the exposed dentine. This can usually be done in a very pain free manor without the need for dental anesthetics or needles.

Further considerations for this method would include: aesthetic considerations, evidence of progression, and as mentioned conservative therapy has proved unsuccessful.

If you would like more information please contact Skygate Dental today.