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Tooth sensitivity and how to treat it

March 12, 2010

Tooth sensitivity is described as a stinging or painful feeling when hot, cold, sweet, sour, spicy, acidic, or sticky foods come in contact with your teeth.  Sensitivity stems from a weakening of the enamel, such as from cavities, cracks, or other such trauma.  It can also be caused by wearing down the enamel from things like rough brushing, grinding, or teeth whitening.  Once a tooth becomes sensitive, you’ll most likely have that painful stinging almost every time you eat, but with the right knowledge it can be treated and even prevented. The human tooth is made up of a number of different substances forming around the pulp found in the very center.  Pulp is a tissue full of blood vessels and nerves that happens to be very sensitive to any kind of stimuli.  A mineralized tissue called dentin is made to protect the pulp, as well as to support the very strong enamel around it.  Dentin consists of many dentinal tubules, microscopic channels that travel between the pulp and enamel.  This makes dentin less dense then enamel, and therefore easier for stimuli to pass through. On top of everything is the enamel, the exposed part of the tooth that happens to also be the hardest substance of the body.  When the enamel is damaged or weakened, the dentin no longer has a full protective coating, exposing it to stimuli from foods.   When those cold, hot, or acidic liquids/foods touch the dentin, the dentinal tubules allow the stimuli to reach the nerves, causing the irritation that is known as tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is fully treatable.  Some options include desensitizing gels or sensitive teeth toothpastes, like Squigle Tooth Builder Toothpaste, that help block the transmission of the sensation to the nerves.  Another choice is using a remineralizing toothpaste, like Dr. Collins Restore Remineralizing Toothpaste, that provides the enamel with essential minerals that strengthen the tooth.  These remineralizing toothpastes also help to prevent sensitivity in the first place, making it an ideal choice for your daily oral hygiene regimen.  But when it comes to treating or preventing, the best thing to do is talk to your dentist for a proper recommendation.