Enjoying good food or drinks is difficult if you always feel the pain! What are the causes of sensitive tooth necks and what is it about?
1. What are sensitive tooth necks?
These are teeth or molars of which a piece of dental bone is exposed. Teeth and molars consist of a crown and a carrot. The tooth neck is the part where the crown merges into the root, at the height of the gum line. The crown is covered with enamel, the root has a layer of root cement as protection. Normally the protective enamel runs down to the gums. Once the gums have receded, the soft root cement will be exposed. You can easily polish this cement away. Then a piece of dental bone is exposed and that can be sensitive.
2. How do you notice that you have it?
If you drink something hot or cold or eat something sour or sweet, you will feel a short, sharp pain. Sometimes touching even hurts. This is because there are channels in the dentine that are connected to the nerve cavity inside the tooth or molar. If the gums close the channels, you will not notice it. When the gums have receded, the moisture in those channels starts to move due to warm, cold, sweet or sour stimuli. That movement irritates the nerves and that is the cause of the pain.
3. What causes it?
By receding gums, exposing the dental bone. Gums do not simply withdraw, it is usually inflamed by poor oral hygiene.
4. Is it also due to the wrong brushing technique?
Yes that is possible. If you brush too vigorously, too long or with too much pressure or use a too hard toothbrush, you can scrub the gums away. The enamel and root cement can also wear from brushing too hard, especially if this happens with a toothpaste that contains too much abrasive. Toothpastes that promise whiter teeth sometimes have such an abrasive effect. Don't brush then? No! Because not or poor brushing will irreversibly lead to inflamed gums, as a result of which the gums will retract and the chance of sensitive tooth necks will increase.
5. Does special toothpaste help?
There are indeed toothpastes to reduce the sensitivity of tooth necks. They contain certain substances that, as it were, lay a protective layer on the exposed dental bone: they close the channels and reduce the nerve impulses. Many people benefit, but unfortunately it doesn't work for everyone. Because the active substances differ per toothpaste, it is a matter of trying which one suits you best. Incidentally, it is not the case that the sensitivity completely disappears due to the special toothpastes.
Tip: apply toothpaste directly to the neck with a finger. That increases the effect.
6. What else can you do about it?
Continue to brush, even if this hurts. Brushing with toothpaste provides a protective layer on the teeth and that reduces painful nerve irritations. You can also adjust your diet. Limit the number of eating and drinking moments to seven times a day. Choose three main meals and a maximum of four times something in between.
Those who have sensitive tooth necks should also be careful with food and drinks with a high acidity. These 'sour' products (which often taste sweet) make the exposed dental bone weaker. They dissolve the protective lubricant layer of the toothpaste, so that the channels open again and the pain stimuli go through it more easily. Unfortunately, almost all drinks are sour: soft drinks, sports drinks and especially fruit juices. But most red and white wines also have a high acidity. Only water, milk, coffee and tea (without sugar) are exceptions.
It is also advisable not to brush your teeth immediately after drinking, for example, a glass of cola. Then you could easily brush away the softened dental bone. Therefore, wait for an hour to brush your teeth after eating or drinking acidic products. The saliva has then neutralized the acids.
7. Do you have to go to the dentist?
Tooth neck sensitivity does not automatically disappear. Discuss the symptoms with the dentist or dental hygienist at the next check-up. But if the pain is intense, it is better to make an appointment immediately. The dentist can then give you suitable advice. He usually recommends using a special toothpaste. Does the sensitivity continue to exist? Then the dentist can recommend rinsing with a fluoride rinse aid. If that does not help either, he can seal the openings of the channels in the exposed dental bone with a fluoride lacquer. In the event of serious complaints, the dentist will cover the sensitive tooth neck with a special filling material.
8. One person suffers more from it than the other
It is not the case that one person has more 'talent' for it than the other. Sensitive tooth necks are only caused by receding gums and that can happen to anyone. It is true that exposed tooth necks are not always that sensitive. One person suffers more from it than the other.
9. How can you prevent it?
With a good brushing technique and oral hygiene you prevent inflamed and withdrawn gums and therefore also sensitive tooth necks. To remove all plaque it is necessary to brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft toothbrush and do not apply too much pressure while brushing. Loosely holding the toothbrush at the end between your thumb and fingertips is enough. Brush carefully and also clean the spaces between teeth with toothpicks, dental floss or brushes.