Summer is here! The sun’s out, the weather is warm, and ice-cream and ice-lollies are the order of the day!

But although these frozen treats can be the ideal cool-down for some people, for others they can be a real pain. Literally.

If consuming cold food and drinks causes you dental pain, you may have sensitive teeth. Some people also experience sensitivity when they have sweet or acidic food and drinks, hot food, or even when cold air catches the teeth.

Having sensitive teeth is a fairly common dental health condition which can mean anything from feeling a mild twinge, to having severe discomfort over several hours.

It can also be an early warning sign of more serious dental problems. However sensitive teeth can be vastly improved through effective diagnosis and professional dental treatment.

What causes sensitive teeth?

Sensitive teeth can start at any time. The part of a tooth which is visible has a layer of enamel that protects the softer dentine underneath. If the dentine becomes exposed, a tooth can become sensitive. Some causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Brushing too hard (toothbrush abrasion), and also brushing from side to side.
  • Dental erosion. This is loss of tooth enamel caused by attacks of acid from acidic food and drinks.
  • Gum recession. Gums can naturally recede (shrink back), exposing the roots and causing sensitivity.
  • Tooth grinding. Clenching and grinding the teeth together can cause tooth enamel to be worn away.
  • Gum disease. A build-up of plaque or tartar can cause the gum to recede down the tooth and even destroy the bony support of the tooth.
  • Cracked teeth or broken fillings.
  • Tooth whitening. Some patients may find they have sensitivity for a short time during tooth whitening and afterwards. Tell your dentist about this before having treatment.

Things to avoid with sensitive teeth

You may wish to avoid foods like ice-cream, or cold, sweet or acidic drinks. If you feel sensitivity when brushing your teeth, you may need to use lukewarm water instead. It is important to keep brushing and flossing your teeth regularly though, otherwise the problem could get a lot worse.

Can I treat sensitive teeth at home?

Yes, there are some good brands of toothpaste for sensitive teeth available in most supermarkets and pharmacies. Use a fluoride toothpaste twice a day to brush your teeth; you can also rub it onto the sensitive areas.

These toothpastes can take anything from a few days to several weeks to take effect. The dental team can advise you on which type of toothpaste would be best for you, and you may be able to purchase this at the surgery itself.

Should I go and visit the dentist?

Yes, it is advisable to see the dentist if you have tried treating your sensitive teeth for a few weeks and have seen no improvement. The dentist will discuss with you the best treatment options specifically tailored to you.

You may need to come to the practice for several appointments. Roger-James Scholes and our dental team have many years’ experience in treating tooth sensitivity, in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

If you would like to make an appointment for your initial free telephone or video consultation, please contact us.

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