Dentine hypersensitivity is a prevalent oral condition that stems from dentin exposure, which dentists around the world treat on a daily basis. According to statistics, about 8 to 30 percent of the adult population, ages 25 to 45, is affected by this ailment. It is characterized by sharp pain or an irritating sensation on the base of the teeth, when exposed to hot, cold, sour or sweet foods. It is usually caused by a number of factors, including tooth decay, over brushing, frequent intake of acidic foods, and prolonged mouthwash use. However, certain underlying illnesses also force it to develop.
Dentin is that part of the teeth that contains microscopic tubes that are directly connected to the nerve branches on the pulp. Once the flow of the fluid within the teeth is disturbed, the tube releases a message to the mechanoreceptors to inflict pain. Tooth desensitization involves a number of treatments to reduce this hypersensitivity and allow you to enjoy whatever fares your heart desires.
The first line of therapy involves the use of desensitizing agents to make the dentin less reactive to stimuli. These can be anything from potassium salts, fluoride, sodium citrate, corticosteroids and calcium hydroxides. Physical agents such as sealants, soft tissue grafts and composite resins can also be used as an alternative. What they will do is inactivate the nerve or occlude the tubules, so that they do not get excited by food or beverage consumption. Sensodyne is a good example of a chemical desensitizing agent, and it mainly achieves the goal by introducing a concentration of 5% sodium nitrate to the teeth with fluoride, so the sensory nerve endings in the pulp are blocked, and the dental enamel is strengthened. Sealants, on the other hand, cover the exposed dentin, so that shifts in oral temperature do not easily affect it.
Another procedure that is used for tooth desensitization is ionto-phoresis. Also known as Electromotive Drug Administration, this refers to the technique of delivering medicine or a chemical through the skin, using electric charges. For dental hypersensitivity, the medicine involved would be fluoride solutions. Laser therapy is also considered to correct the condition, and with the right irradiation parameters, it has been proven to quickly reduce pain by 91.27% among patients.
Dentists also advice to accompany hypersensitivity treatments with good oral hygiene, so that the dentin’s structure is protected from degradation and tartar build up. They also encourage the use of soft bristled brushes to minimize tooth and gum abrasion. Of course, they also endorse regular dental check-ups, cleaning and fluoride treatments, usually every six months, to monitor your dental condition. If you are in the habit of chewing tobacco, grinding ice and sucking candy, they would also discourage them, because they may precipitate tooth dilapidation, enamel thinning, gum reduction and worse, mouth sores.
If you are lucky enough to still have your teeth in its optimum state, it would do you good to administer preventive measures, like proper diet and oral cleanliness, so you don’t have to suffer from dental hypersensitivity in the future. Brushing three times a day is recommended, as well as cutting back on acidic foods like fruit juices, sodas and wine, as well as those rich in carbohydrates.