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16 May, 2024
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tooth sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity? – Ask Dr. Farooq Sorathia

What Is Tooth Sensitivity?

Ever felt like having that gelato that everyone in town has been talking about, but the thought of that sharp sensitivity in your teeth with that first bite makes you cringe. Tooth sensitivity affects almost 90% of the population and there can be a number of reasons why someone may experience tooth sensitivity. These can be tooth decay, leaky fillings, gum disease, root exposure, fractured teeth, and worn-out enamel are some of the causes of tooth sensitivity.

The teeth are made up of 4 layers, enamel, dentin, pulp, and cementum. The dentin comprises of small microscopic tubules which facilitate fluids to pass through from the pulp. When these tubules are exposed, then the rate of the flow of fluid increases due to a stimulus, which can be anything cold, hot or sweet. That is why sometimes, we feel that discomfort when having a hot cup of coffee, or ice-cold water, or that amazing chocolate that we had over the weekend.

It is important to visit the dentist to determine the cause of the sensitivity and then discuss options on how to best manage the sensitivity. If the tooth is broken, then the dentist may suggest restorative options to enable the functionality of the tooth, or if a filling is leaky, then the filling needs to be redone. For root exposure, there may be desensitizing agents used to block the tubules. It is best to get assessed as to correctly identify the source of the problem and to manage it accordingly.

Article Written by Dr. Farooq Sorathia (BDS – University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg)

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