Harris Interactive has conducted a survey in the year 2010 for new Orajel® advanced tooth desensitizer. According to this survey 46% of adult Americans have been affected by tooth sensitivity in the last five years. Out of this half the population did not take any remedial actions for their sensitive tooth whereas many were dissatisfied with their treatment options. As per this survey tooth sensitivity has changed the lives of 55% of affected people whereas 41% changed their way of eating and drinking to avoid pain due to sensitivity.
This survey also has found that the reasons for tooth sensitivity are as follows:
In the US 45 million people are affected by hypersensitivity and 10 million have chronic sensitive teeth.
Tooth sensitivity is tooth discomfort or pain in one or more teeth that is triggered by eating hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks, or even by breathing cold air. The pain can be sudden, sharp and the pain can travel into the nerve endings of your teeth. Touching one tooth with another tooth or tongue might also cause tooth sensitivity.
Two types of tooth sensitivity occur – Dentinal and Pulpal.
Your tooth becomes sensitive when the dentin which is the underlying layer of your tooth is exposed. The uncovered roots without hard enamel contain thousands of tiny tubules that lead to the tooth's nerve center – the pulp. These dentinal tubules allow the hot, sweet or cold food items to reach the nerve in your tooth thereby causing pain and sensitivity. In addition, it is possible that your tooth has micro cracks that are invisible to the naked eye and this can also cause sensitivity.
The following factors are responsible for the development of tooth sensitivity are:
Your tooth might become sensitive after a deep filling and this may take number of weeks to disappear. If the filling is too high that puts more pressure on the tooth the height might have to be reduced.
If the sensitivity does not reduce for a long time the tooth might require a root canal treatment.
The sensitivity of your dentine will cause acute pain and you will feel uncomfortable; however, if you get the problem diagnosed and treated it is possible to eliminate this problem. In order to accomplish this, it is essential for you to change your eating as well as oral health habits so as to prevent exposure of dentine again.
Before treating for sensitivity it is necessary for your dentist to identify the reasons for your tooth sensitivity. The pain could have been caused by dentine sensitivity, tooth decay, replacement requirement for existing filling or crack in the tooth. If the diagnosis shows dentine sensitivity, the dentist might recommend use of brushes suitable for sensitive teeth, sensitive toothpastes and mouth rinses. Application of a small amount of toothpaste on the affected area at frequent intervals throughout the day is also advised by certain dentists to overcome this problem. This paste forms a protective layer over the affected area of the teeth. The fluoride in the toothpaste not only reduces the sensitivity but also prevents tooth decay or caries.
If the sensitivity is due to tooth decay the dentist might go for root canal treatment. On the other hand, if it is due to a crack in your tooth he might give you a crown to hold the tooth together. If over-brushing has caused recession in your gums because of which your tooth has become sensitive your dentist will educate you on the correct technique of brushing; you may also benefit by using electric brush.
For severe sensitivity of your tooth, the dentist might treat you with adhesives, resins or varnishes to seal the area exposed.