Root sensitivity and sensitive teeth in general is a very common issue. It is estimated that around 10 percent of the population experience sensitivity during their lifetime. Having root sensitivity can mean anything from mild discomfort when eating ice cream to severe discomfort that can last for hours.
Causes of root sensitivity
Root sensitivity occurs when the soft inner layer of the root becomes exposed to the outside world. The root is made up of three layers. Cementum on the outside, dentin in the middle and pulp in the center.
Dentin is made up of thousands of tiny fluid-filled tubes that contain nerves. As the cementum thins, these nerves can become exposed. As soon as they get hot or cold, they send signals to the pulp which forwards it on to the brain as flashes of discomfort.
Usually, the root is protect by the jaw bone and by your gums. Gum disease and bone less through bruxism or other reason can expose the root to the elements, which contributes to the discomfort.
Treatments for root sensitivity
There are a number of treatments available for root sensitivity. We tend to begin conservatively so we can use the least invasive procedure possible. Usually, treatment begins with a discussion on toothbrush choice, brushing and toothpaste.
Many toothpastes, especially whitening toothpastes contain abrasives which can contribute to tooth sensitivity. We discuss choosing the right strength bristles, brushing technique that avoids being too harsh and any lifestyle or dietary causes for sensitivity. For many, this is enough to alleviate the symptoms and treat root sensitivity.
If that doesn’t work, we can prescribe special toothpastes to desensitize and treat the cause. These toothpastes rebuild the special mineral layer that protects those tubes in dentin to stop them being sensitive. This is a very effective treatment.
In very few cases, a surgical procedure may be necessary. We can perform tissue grafting or place a tooth color restoration or protect the inner part of the tooth. These are also very effective at treating tooth sensitivity.
Finally, we come to the root canal procedure. This really is the procedure of last resort as it involves removing the inner part of the tooth. Despite its reputation, it is actually a very straightforward treatment that is nowhere near as uncomfortable as it used to be. Only if all other treatments are ineffective will we consider root canal surgery.
As you can see, there are a range of effective treatments available for root sensitivity. It all begins with a consultation, a discussion and covering those bases. Treatment can be as simple as changing your toothbrush or toothpaste or even the way you brush. So if you’re experiencing discomfort is sensitivity, contact Aesthetic Family Dentistry today. We can help!