Dental hypersensitivity (HD) or Dental Sensitivity is defined as an intense and transient dental pain caused by exposure of the dentine inside the tooth to the oral environment and that appears after contact with an external stimulus: food or cold drinks, hot, sour, sweet; tactile pressure, etc.
It is the most common cause of dental pain and shows a high prevalence, affecting approximately 1 in 7 adults and can trigger the onset of oral diseases such as tooth decay, gingivitis or periodontitis, if not treated properly.
It usually occurs between 18 and 40 years of age, and in recent years it has increased in young patients by excessive consumption of acidic drinks and indiscriminate use of tooth whitening products without supervision.
Tooth sensitivity occurs when the dentin, which is protected by the gum, cementum and enamel, loses its natural protection and is exposed. Dentin contains thousands of microscopic tubes called dentinal tubules, which connect the outside of the tooth with nerve endings. When the tooth loses its protection due to gum recession and / or wear of tooth enamel, these tubules are open to the outside; allowing external stimuli reach nerve endings and cause pain sensation.
Numerous situations cause exposure of dentinal tubules and can cause tooth sensitivity. These tend to be related to the lifestyle of patients and their daily oral hygiene habits:
• inadequate tooth brushing in strength and / or frequency and a very abrasive toothpaste can cause enamel abrasion and / or cement, exposing the dentin.
• Meals and drinks with acid (citrus juices, carbonated soft drinks, etc.) cause tooth decalcification or erosion especially at the level of the neck.
• Excessive force of chewing (occlusal trauma, bruxism) or patient bad habits can cause wear (attrition and / or abfraction) and dentine exposure.
• Periodontal treatment, especially surgery can remove some of the gingiva leading to gingival recession.
• General pathologies or certain situations that cause oral acidic medium, such as stomach pathologies (ulcer, hiatal hernia, etc.), psychological (bulimia, anorexia nervosa) o professional (wine tasters, bakers, etc.).
• It can also appear as a result of gingival recession caused by dental treatments such as a professional cleaning, basic periodontal treatment or orthodontics. But it can also be caused by a simple anatomical anomaly that, because of a defect, dentin is exposed.
Pain due to tooth sensitivity is easily identifiable because it always appears to various stimuli but clearly recognizable: foods o drinks very cold or very hot, sweet or acidic substances, brushing teeth, pain when breathing cold air, etc. The manifested pain is intense, very well located in the tooth that suffers and the short duration, you just feel it while acting stimulus that causes it.
If the pain that occurs is not related to a given stimulus and / or persists after the latter has ceased or is not well located, probably the cause is not tooth sensitivity and could be due to the existence of underlying diseases, such as, for example, tooth decay.
It is therefore important to go to the consultation clinic so that the dentist can perform a scan and an accurate diagnosis.
For proper treatment of tooth sensitivity, it is very important to establish preventive measures with proper treatment (clinical or home treatment).
• Avoid eating sour foods and drinks.
• Correcting bad habits: avoid using wooden sticks, bruxism, etc.
• Correct oral hygiene instructions: proper brushing technique and using a low abrasive toothpaste and a soft bristle brush.
• Along with these, it is important to use desensitizing agents to treat tooth sensitivity (creams, rinses, varnishes or pastes).
The vast majority of products of ambulatory use to treat tooth sensitivity including in its composition potassium salts, desensitizing agents, which penetrate into the pulp by open dentinal tubules and act by inhibiting nerve transmission that produces pain. These also include in some cases fluorides, which may act partially plugging the dentinal tubules.
If tooth sensitivity is treated daily with appropriate products, the painful sensation that causes is avoided and can recover normal in teeth and gums.