Big Red Tooth – Dr Candice Schwartz

Where teeth and health meet

Tooth Sensitivity…..

Tooth Sensitivity is a common problem I am faced with on a daily basis. Patients come in and complain of varying degrees of sensitivity and seek help and solutions. The treatment of tooth sensitivity is a tricky one. The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is gingival recesion resulting from aggressive brushing techniques. The susceptibility of the gums to recession increases with age. As the gum recedes upwards, the root surface of the tooth becomes exposed. The crown of the tooth is covered by a protective layer of enamel. The root however does not have this enamel covering and is thus far more sensitive (particularly to changes in temperature).

All the television adverts for sensitive toothpastes claim to cure patients instantly and miraculously of their painful sensitive teeth. It would truly be a miracle if these toothpastes worked so well! However the fact is, they dont. The other ugly truth is that once the gum has receded it will never move back down into its original position- the damage is therefore permanent.This means its time to trade in your frayed and aged brush, for a soft gentle brush which will not cause further damage to your gums. If you are battling to find a really soft toothbrush, just buy something from the kiddies range!

There is only one product (which is not available from retail stores but only through dentists) that I feel truly treats and improves tooth sensitivity. It is not the purpose of this blog to market any specific products, so I will not mention the name, however if you email me I will gladly provide you with the name of the product.

The “sensitive brand’ toothpastes on the market do, in theory provide some relief, but it is minimal in my experience. Most of the time, patients just learn to live with the fact that they have sensitive teeth. They steer clear of ice cold drinks or ice creams and just take a lot more care in choosing the colder foods. Some people are so sensitive (like myself) that they cannot even bite into a piece of fruit that has been inside the fridge.

The most important thing is to not let the gum recession get any worse. Your dentist will provide you with specific oral hygiene instructions to ensure this. The good news is, with time, the longer the root is exposed to the oral environment the less sensitive it becomes. As you get older the sensitivity will ultimately decrease, however this may take years.

In closing, brush gently to prevent tooth sensitivity. Prevention is better than cure- especially when there isnt one!

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