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If you have sensitive teeth, eating ice cream can be more pain than pleasure. Suffering from sensitive teeth is extremely common – it’s estimated that around half of us will suffer from it at some point in our lives. So, if you are tired of wincing with that first scoop of raspberry ripple, what can you do about it? Well the good news is that there are many ways that you can reduce or eliminate sensitive teeth.
Teeth become sensitive when surface enamel wears down, exposing the layer of dentine underneath. Dentine is a bone-like substance that makes up the greatest proportion of a tooth. Without a protective layer of enamel, sensations – whether hot or cold – travel down tiny channels within dentine to the nerves at the centre of the tooth.
Grinding your teeth, eating acidic foods (like citrus fruits), using toothpaste that is too abrasive and even vigorous brushing can all damage enamel. Sensitivity can also be caused by receding gums.
Sensitive teeth treatment
The first step in treating sensitive teeth is to start using a specially formulated toothpaste. The paste works by filling in microscopic gaps in the tooth enamel. Some formulations also contain fluoride which helps to rebuild enamel.
However, if over the counter treatments don’t work, then it is worth talking to your dentist. He or she may suggest one of the following treatment plans depending on the severity of the problem:
Fluoride: Applying fluoride to the affected areas helps to strengthen tooth enamel.
Covering the exposed area: For receding gums, a special sealant can be applied to create a protective layer.
Tissue graft: Tissue can be taken from elsewhere in the mouth and grafted onto gums that are receding.
Root canal: If the pain is severe, root canal surgery is often recommended. The dentist will drill down to remove the soft pulp at the centre of the tooth.
Treatment for sensitive teeth
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