Sensitive teeth. Causes.

Tooth sensitivity is one of the first signs that suggest to the dentist that there is a disturbance affecting the balance of the patient’s oral cavity.

Internal factors of the body, but especially external factors, coming from the environment, especially from the diet, can initiate or accentuate dental sensitivity or suffering.

Dental sensitivity occurs as a result of the loss of the superficial enamel layers or gingival retraction, whereby the dental root remains uncovered, with various causes and inducing the following changes:

Sensitivity is perceived on contact with liquid or hard, hot but especially cold foods. If it is generalized, sensitivity may be the cause of gingival recession associated with ageing and periodontal pathology.

If dental sensitivity occurs locally, on one tooth or a small group of teeth, it is the cause of an imbalance affecting only those units.

Also, when in contact with metal instruments, especially during dental check-ups, the pain may be accentuated.

The patient avoids using them when chewing, but also avoids them during cleaning, so as not to accentuate the pain on those sensitive dental regions, as there are sometimes deposits of bacterial plaque and tartar, risk factors in the development of caries and periodontal disease.

Apart from gingival recession, which is considered a physiological phenomenon in elderly patients due to bone atrophy, there are other causes that can lead to tooth sensitivity. These include:

Tooth wear – can occur mainly as a result of incorrect brushing techniques.

If the patient uses too much force during tooth brushing, some of the more superficial layers of enamel will be lost over time, resulting in thinning and facilitating the transmission of stimuli to the dentin, provided with nerve extensions.

Studies have shown that the teeth most affected by this wear process are canines and premolars because the patient insists on brushing them both when cleaning their front teeth and when cleaning their side teeth.

Also, in right-handed patients, the force exerted during brushing is increased on the teeth on the left side, as this region is easier to approach.

Bruxism and occlusal trauma – bruxism is the grinding of teeth against each other, with the behavior often having a neurological basis, particularly stress.

Occlusal trauma occurs whenever the forces resulting from the masticatory act are not transmitted into the tooth axis but result in horizontal, tooth-destroying components.

As a result of these processes, the enamel layers on the surfaces that slide on each other or that concentrate an increased occlusal force become thinner, resulting in tooth sensitivity.

Dental erosion – is the type of tooth wear in which the triggering factor is food and especially acidic liquids. Carbonated drinks, fruit juices and citrus fruits, with their acidic pH in the oral cavity, favor the extraction of calcium ions, with thinning of the enamel layers.

Saliva, through its constituents, is able to rebalance the pH of the oral cavity, but not immediately, the time period varying according to the nature and concentration of the acidic substance.

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