Tooth sensitivity (or more precisely dentinal hypersensitivity) is one of the most common dental concern reported among patients. A study on Oral Care Usage and Attitudes conducted by global market research company reveals that one in three adults in Malaysia has sensitive teeth. The pain characteristic is short sharp pain in response to stimuli like hot/cold, air blow, tactile, osmotic or chemical.
Certain degree of dentinal sensitivity is normal. However pain should not always triggered in everyday activities such as drinking cold water.
How does it happen?
Our teeth structure consists of enamel, dentine and pulp. The second layer, dentine contains thousands of microscopic tubular structures that connect to the pulp tissue. Movement of fluid inside these dentinal tubules can trigger the pain receptor inside the pulp.
If the dentine layer is exposed, we will experience various degree of tooth sensitivity depending on the area and depth of exposure. Several common reasons in which dentine can be exposed include:
- Gingival recession from trauma (Eg. forceful brushing)
- Abrasion/Abfraction cavities
- Acid erosion
What to do next ?
Do you have tooth sensitivity? We advise you to visit dentist to rule out caries, gum disease and other possible causes. Our dentists will thoroughly check and identify the cause of your dentinal hypersensitivity. Then we will advise the treatment option available to solve or at least lessen the sensitivity based on the individual root cause.
In general, we recommend soft or ultra soft toothbrush bristles and avoid horizontal brushing. Long term use of high abrasiveness toothpaste is not advisable. Correct brushing technique and interdental cleaning such as flossing help to maintain good gum health and prevent recession. Caries and gum disease should be treated to prevent further deterioration.
A variety of desensitizing toothpastes with different formula and active ingredients are available in the market. Generally, these active ingredients aim to plug the dentinal tubules to prevent fluid movement.
- Sensodyne Rapid Relief (Stannous Fluoride)
- Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief (Arginine)