Sensitive Teeth…?

What are sensitive teeth?

Having sensitive teeth can mean anything from getting a mild twinge to having severe discomfort that can continue for several hours. It can also be an early warning sign of more serious dental problems.

Who suffers from sensitive teeth?

Sensitivity can affect people of all ages

Many people suffer from sensitive teeth and it can start at any time. It is more common in people aged between 20 and 40, although it can affect people in their early teens and when they are over 70. Women are more likely to be affected than men.

What causes sensitive teeth?

The part of the tooth we can see has a layer of enamel that protects the softer dentine underneath. If the dentine is exposed, a tooth can become sensitive. This usually happens where the tooth and the gum meet and the enamel layer is much thinner. Here are some causes of sensitivity:

  • Brushing too hard (‘toothbrush abrasion’), and brushing from side to side, can cause enamel to be worn away – particularly where the teeth meet the gums. The freshly exposed dentine may then become sensitive.
  • Dental erosion: this is loss of tooth enamel caused by attacks of acid from acidic food and drinks. If enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed which may lead to sensitivity.Gums may naturally recede (shrink back), and the roots of the teeth will become exposed and can be more sensitive. Root surfaces do not have an enamel layer to protect them.
  • Gums may naturally recede (shrink back ), and the roots of the teeth will become exposed and can be more sensitive. Root surfaces do not have an enamel layer to protect them.
  • Gum disease: a build-up of plaque or tartar can cause the gum to recede down the tooth and even destroy the bony support of the tooth. Pockets can form in the gums around the tooth, making the area difficult to keep clean and the problem worse.
  • Tooth grinding: this is a habit which involves clenching and grinding the teeth together. This can cause the enamel of the teeth to be worn away, making the teeth sensitive.
  • A cracked tooth or filling: a cracked tooth is one that has become broken.
  • Tooth bleaching: some patients have sensitivity for a short time during bleaching or afterwards. Talk to us about this before having treatment.

When are teeth more likely to be sensitive?

You are more likely to feel the sensitivity when drinking or eating something cold, from cold air catching your teeth, and sometimes with hot foods or drinks. Some people have sensitivity when they have sweet or acidic food and drinks. The pain can come and go, with some times being worse than others.

Is there anything I should avoid if I have sensitive teeth?

You may find that hot, cold, sweet or acidic drinks, or foods like ice cream, can bring on sensitivity, so you may want to avoid these. If you have sensitivity when brushing your teeth with cold water from the tap, you may need to use warm water instead. It is important to keep brushing your teeth regularly – if you don’t, this could make the problem worse.

Do I need to come and see you?

Yes, if you have tried treating your sensitive teeth for a few weeks and have had no improvement.

What treatments can you offer?

During an examination the dental team will talk to you about your symptoms. We will look at your teeth to find out what is causing the sensitivity and to find the best way of treating it. We may treat the affected teeth with special ‘de-sensitising’ products to help relieve the symptoms. Fluoride gels, rinses or varnishes can be applied to sensitive teeth. These can be painted onto the teeth at regular appointments one or two weeks apart, to build up some protection. Sensitivity can take some time to settle, and you may need to have several appointments. If this still does not help, your dental team may seal or fill around the neck of the tooth, where the tooth and gum meet, to cover exposed dentine. In very serious cases it may be necessary to root-fill the tooth.

Is there anything I can do to treat sensitive teeth at home?

There are many brands of toothpaste on the market made to help ease the pain of sensitive teeth. You should use the fluoride toothpaste twice a day to brush your teeth. You can also rub it onto the sensitive areas. These toothpastes can take anything from a few days to several weeks to take effect. Your dental team should be able to advise you on which type of toothpaste would be best for you.

How can I prevent sensitive teeth?

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with fluoride toothpaste containing at least 1350ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. Consider using toothpaste specially designed for sensitive teeth. Use small, circular movements with a soft-to medium-bristled brush. Try to avoid brushing your teeth from side to side.
  • Change your toothbrush every two to three months, or sooner if it becomes worn.
  • Don’t brush straight after eating – some foods and drinks can soften the enamel of your teeth, so leave it for at least an hour before you brush.
  • Have sugary foods, and fizzy and acidic drinks, less often. Try to have them just at mealtimes.
  • If you grind your teeth, talk to your dental team about whether you should have a mouthguard made, to wear at night.
  • If you are thinking about having your teeth bleached, discuss sensitivity with your dental team before starting treatment.
  • Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.

We’re here to help, if you have any questions! You can also book an appointment with Beth, our Oral Health Educator!

Knocked out teeth….

What is an avulsed tooth?

An avulsed tooth is one that has been knocked out.

A tooth can be knocked out by a blow to the mouth, or an accident involving the face. This can happen for example while playing contact sports or other trauma. The tooth can be replaced in the socket successfully if you take the right action as soon as possible.

What to do if you or your child knocks out a tooth….

I’m bleeding, what can I do?

Don’t panic. Get a clean handkerchief and fold it up, then hold it over the socket and bite down. Keep your jaws together to apply pressure. If you need something for the pain, don’t take any medication containing aspirin as this can cause the bleeding to get worse. Do not apply clove oil to the wound.

I’ve still got the complete tooth, can it be replaced?

Maybe. The complete tooth needs to be replaced in the socket as soon as possible, ideally in under 30 minutes. But teeth have been successfully replaced up to 60 minutes after being knocked out.

What should I do with the tooth?

Don’t touch the root. If the tooth is very dirty, rinse it with milk or tap water. Do not clean it with disinfectant or let it dry out.

How do I put the tooth back in?

Hold the tooth by the crown and put it back into the socket firmly, root first. Bite on a clean handkerchief for about 15 to 20 minutes. Visit your dentist as soon as possible.

What should I do if I can’t get the tooth back in?

Your tooth has more chance of survival if you keep it in your cheek until you can get emergency dental treatment. This will keep the tooth in its most natural environment. If this is not possible, keep it in some milk.

What if I have only got part of the tooth?

It is not a good idea to try and put the tooth back into the socket if it is not complete. Contact your dental team us as soon as possible and we can tell you what can be done to restore the tooth. You may need dental x-rays to see if there is any root damage.

Is there anything I should do if I haven’t got the tooth?

If you cannot find the tooth, you may have swallowed it. If you think you may have swallowed or inhaled it, you may need an x-ray to be sure of this.

What if it is a baby tooth?

We do not recommend putting back a baby tooth in case an infection damaged the adult tooth underneath. Contact us to check this first though. We may need to examine the child to check if any bits of tooth are still in the gum. There is no way to temporarily replace a baby tooth, so the only treatment is to wait for the adult tooth to appear.

Contact us to book in for emergency dental treatment?

It is important to get emergency dental treatment. Contact us as soon as possible and explain what has happened.

What should happen at my emergency visit?

We will assess you and may treat any facial injury. However, treatment may be limited if there is any bruising or bleeding. We may take x-rays and will check if the tooth has re-implanted successfully. You will probably need more appointments for follow-up treatment.

What other treatment may I need?

If the tooth has re-implanted successfully you may not need any other treatment, as long as you keep up your regular check-ups. If the tooth becomes loose, it can be ‘splinted’ to the teeth next to it. This means it will be temporarily attached to keep it firm until we can tell whether it has re-implanted successfully.

If the tooth is lost or doesn’t re-implant successfully, it can be replaced at first with a denture. Then, when the socket has healed fully, you can have a bridge or dental implant.

Is there anything that I can do to avoid getting a tooth knocked out?

If you are playing sports, particularly contact sports, you should always wear a mouthguard.

This is a rubber-like cover that fits over your teeth and protects you against a blow to the mouth. Your dental team can have one made for you by taking an impression of your teeth and sending it to a laboratory. The laboratory then makes the mouthguard so that it fits your mouth exactly.

Mouthguards can be clear or coloured – for example, in the colours of the team kit if you want to wear one while playing sport.

If we can help with any advice or treatment, please contact us, and we will help. It can be an upsetting time, if a tooth is knocked out, especially if it is a child. Try not to panic, and call us as soon as you can.

Seven tips to tip the balance….staying cheerful in testing times

It’s challenging times for all. With the lockdown restrictions in the UK continuing for at least another three weeks, we thought now might be the time to think about what we can all do to keep our spirits up!

Have some sort of plan for the day which you’ll try to keep to each day. Regular sleep. Regular meals. Gentle goals to set and try to keep. One of course is good oral hygiene regimen. If you don’t usually spend a great deal of time cleaning in between the teeth with floss or interproximal brushes, why not start now, get it into your routine and keep it there for life. Add them to your shopping list.

Clean and pleasant surroundings and clothing. Wash up.  Tidy up. Declutter! Why not bag up those things you just no longer need, and leave them ready to take to a charity shop when they re-open. Charities will have taken a hit during the lockdown too.

However you do it it’s important to switch off and amuse yourself and cheer yourself up. Entertainment is vital.

Even if you’re really limited in what you can do just opening the door or window and taking some deep breaths makes a difference. The simplest of exercises indoors or a brief walk outdoors makes a difference. 

However you do it keep in touch with others in your life. Make that call. Type that text. Write that email or letter or note. FaceTime. Message. 
Skype. WhatsApp. Telemeetings and Zoom Meetings. Share the good stuff and the funny. 
Connect connect connect!

Limit the intake of bad news coming at you from the Media. Keep in touch with what’s going on but don’t binge watch the news.

There are ALWAYS things and people to be thankful for. Always. It’s hard at times but being grateful and looking for the good in life and seeing the funny side of life and having a laugh at times will always do us good and keep us sane (more or less!)

#Stay home, save lives, protect our NHS. Stay safe everyone. Team Newby.

Beth completes her further training

Congratulations to Beth, who despite everything that is happening at the moment, still managed to pass her examination in Oral Health Education.

She has worked tirelessly over the past few months, helping educate our patients and making sure they are able to make the right choices for not only their dental health, but their general health too.

Yesterday marked the final part of her studies, with her receiving her examination results. She passed with flying colours. But of course she did!