Tooth Sensitivity

What causes tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity caused by erosion and abrasion
When the enamel or the cementum wears off, exposed the dentin (dentinal tubules) to the oral environment, results in tooth sensitivity.
When consuming hot or cold drinks, eating acidic food, brushing or even breathing, it triggers the movement of fluid inside dentinal tubules.  This movement irritates the nerve inside pulp chamber (the inner most part of the tooth), resulting in tooth sensitivity or pain. See image (click to enlarge)

Enamel is the outer layer of the tooth
Cementum is the outer layer of the root
Dentin is the second layer of the tooth, next to the enamel.

The best treatment is to prevent tooth sensitivity from occurring.  Here are some practices to avoid tooth sensitivity:
  • Avoid acidic drinks, e.g., fruit juices, soda, and sour candies.  If necessary, use a straw to minimize exposure of acid to the tooth and rinse your mouth immediately.  Prolong contact with acid can de-mineralize enamel and expose dentin to an oral environment.

  • Brush your tooth properly not more than three times a day with soft bristles to avoid cutting the enamel
  • Do not use high abrasive toothpaste especially when the tooth has receded gums.  Use of Sensodyne toothpaste will relieve some sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity after cementing a new crown.  Here are few reasons that may contribute to the sensitivity from new crown:

1. High spot in a new crown may cause tooth sensitivity. Uneven occlusion creates stress and later trauma to the affected tooth, results in sensitivity or pain.  Occlusal adjustment relieves the symptoms. It is best-accomplished after the numbness subsides.

2. Part of the HEMA in resin-modifier glass ionomer cement used for crown cementation does not polymerize, causing sensitivity.

3. The tooth has thin enamel or large pulp chamber make it prone to sensitivity after crown prep.  In this case, use temporary cement to ascertain the sensitivity is no longer an issue before placing the crown with permanent cement.

4. There are some faults in the new crown, e.g., crack, open margin at the gingival area; margin is too long causing a displacement of the gum line.

Tooth sensitivity after composite resin (white filling)

1. Composite restoration is too high.  Final occlusal adjustment should be done after the numbness subsides.

2. Deep cavity without base material to protect the nerve

3. Incomplete polymerization of a resin

4. Nerve irritation from acid penetrates the dentinal tubules during preparation for composite resin restoration

5. The margin of the restoration doesn't  completely seal to the tooth structure, allowing food, bacteria, and fluid to trap underneath the filling leads to secondary caries (decay) and sensitivity or pain.

6. Crack in the restoration, tooth, or root
What to do to prevent sensitivity

A useful method is to block the dentinal tubules with desensitizing products, allow the re-mineralization of the enamel.  In most cases, regular application of desensitizer for at least one month helps relieve the symptom.  Some of the products are:
  • 1 Professional Aplussmile Remineralizing Gel This product contains calcium, phosphate and fluoride for remineralization of tooth enamel

  • Dr. Collins Restore Toothpaste
    Proper use of Dr. Collins Restore Toothpaste may help:
    • Rebuild the tooth enamel
    • Restores lost tooth minerals and strengthen tooth structure 
    • Fluoride Free 
    •  Kills bacteria associated with cavities 
    • Reduces tooth sensitivity 
    • Prevent cavity and gum problems 
    • Repair tooth abrasion and erosion from acidic foods, bacterial waste acids and over brushing 
    • Naturally brightens teeth, restoring their natural shine 
    • Supplements bio-available calcium and phosphorus ions needed for natural self-repair process

    How does Dr. Collin Restore Toothpaste work

    Dr. Collins Restore Remineralizing Toothpaste contains NovaMin (Calcium Sodium Phosphosilicate). NovaMin has elements naturally found in saliva, e.g.,  calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and silica. When NovaMin contacts water, it will release these elements causing a higher concentration of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and silica in saliva.

    After brushing, NovaMin particles adhere to the tooth surface and continues to release ions for hours afterward to ensure and enhance the natural self-repair of a tooth surface and relieve tooth sensitivity.
  • Squigle Tooth Builder Sensitive Toothpaste

    To reduces tooth sensitivity, after flossing; brush Squigle tooth builder for 2 minutes few times a day.  

    Other uses of
    Squigle tooth builder are:
    • Bad breath (simple halitosis)
    • Gum disease
    • Mouth ulcers from cancer treatments
    • Perioral dermatitis, 
    • Plaque, tartar control
    • Fight cavities
    • Prevent surface stains
    • Canker sores

    Ingredients in Squigle tooth builder toothpaste and their use:
    1. Xylitol from Birch trees - prevents plaque
    2. Purified water (spring water)
    3. Calcite from limestone - helps polish tooth and seal open dentinal tubules
    4. Glycerin - moistener from vegetable oil
    5. Poloxamer -very mild detergent from natural gas
    6. Cellulose gum - foam/thickener from trees
    7. Methocel - foam/thickener from trees
    8. Calcium propionate - antimicrobial from trees
    9. Lactoferrin - antimicrobial from cow milk
After flossing and brushing with regular toothpaste, apply Gel-Kam with toothbrush to all your sensitive teeth, allow the gel to remain on your teeth for one minute before spitting.

For maximum benefit, do not eat, drink, or rinse your mouth for at least 30 minutes after using the gel.  Use Gel-Kam with caution do not swallow the gel, do not exceed the recommend dose of once a day or as directed by your dentist. Gel Kam is not recommended for children under 12 years unless directed by a dentist.

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