Do you feel a sharp flash of pain whenever you eat ice cream or drink your morning coffee? You may be suffering from tooth sensitivity. This is a common but frustrating condition, and it can arise for a range of reasons.

 

Worn tooth enamel

Despite the outer layer of your teeth being the toughest tissue in the human body, it can wear down from exposure to acidic foods and drinks or gastric juices, or from not properly brushing your teeth. When the enamel erodes, the underlying dentine gets exposed, which is why your teeth suddenly feel a lot more sensitive to cold or foods and drinks.

 

Gum recession

Similar to worn-down tooth enamel, gum recession can expose parts of your teeth that are far more sensitive. Generally occurring as a consequence of aging or poor oral health, this condition means the gum pulls back from the tooth surface, leaving the roots—which are normally protected—exposed.

 

Gum inflammation and disease

Also known as gingivitis, gum inflammation refers to a loss of the ligaments that support the teeth. This results in exposure of the root surface of the tooth, and subsequently, the nerve ending. Hence, tooth sensitivity is very common in this condition. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis—that is, loss of tooth attachment to the underlying gums/ bone. Here, the inner layer of the gum actually pulls away from your teeth, causing pockets to form, where food, plaque and tartar can collect.

 

Tooth decay

If the sensitivity seems to be localised to one region in the mouth, it’s possible that you’re experiencing tooth decay. As the damage progresses, the layers beneath the protective outer layer of tooth enamel are gradually exposed, leading to increased sensitivity.

 

Cracked teeth

When teeth chip or break, the gaps are susceptible to bacteria build-up. As this build-up makes contact with the layers beneath the tooth enamel, it is likely you may experience some inflammation and sensitivity.

 

Teeth grinding

If you’ve found yourself suddenly encountering new stresses in life, you may be subconsciously grinding your teeth (either in your sleep or while awake). This seemingly harmless act of grinding can slowly wear down the tooth enamel, subsequently heightening tooth sensitivity.

 

Teeth bleaching

If you’ve recently had your teeth whitened, you may find certain foods and drinks are causing pain and sensitivity. This often depends on the type of bleaching agent used: some are more highly concentrated than others, which can increase teeth sensitivity.

 

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

Just as acidic foods such as fruits, juices and sports drinks can strip away small amounts of tooth enamel over time, GERD can have the same effect. This health condition causes stomach acid to come back up through the esophagus, which can gradually wear down the teeth, eventually causing tooth sensitivity.

 

Recent dental work

Whether you’ve had your teeth cleaned, a crown placed or some other kind of restorative treatment, it is not unusual to experience heightened tooth sensitivity in the days following a dental procedure. You can rest reassured knowing this sensitivity is usually temporary and should disappear on its own within four to six weeks.

 

To get to the root cause of your sudden teeth sensitivity , it’s important to book an appointment with your dentist. They will investigate the problem and help to provide solutions - from sensitivity-reducing toothpastes to corrective procedures - so you can get on with your life as pain-free as possible.

Orthodontics is a specific discipline in dentistry that focuses on straightening crooked and overlapping teeth, as well as fixing misaligned bites to ensure improved functionality and appearance.

Patients who seek orthodontic treatment usually vary from ages 6 to 60 years old with the majority of the patients falling in their teens.

In some cases, early intervention can simplify future orthodontic work.

 

Why would I consider orthodontic treatment?

 

When should I start orthodontic treatment?

Depending on each individual situation, early orthodontic intervention may be justified in order to simplify future orthodontic work for the patient. However, in many other cases, orthodontic treatment usually starts when patients have most of their permanent teeth erupted and present.

If you believe your child will/may need braces, it would be advised to have a chat with your dental provider about your options.

Patients have success with orthodontic treatment well into their adulthood - with clear aligners proving more popular with more mature patients into their 30s and beyond.

 

What should I expect at an orthodontic examination?

We will take a close look inside your mouth to assess your teeth, gums, jaw joints and lips. We will also take multiple close-up photographs of the face and teeth including your smile.

The assessment also includes radiographs of the teeth, jaw and head.

An OPG is a full mouth, panoramic x-ray which gives us an overall picture of your jaw and dentition. A Lat Ceph is a radiograph of the side of your face which is used to help assess your skeletal jaw growth and its corresponding relationship.

All the information gathered will help us determine the appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs.

 

What types of orthodontic treatment methods are available?

Orthodontic treatment today comprises of more than just the silver braces most people think of when they think about teeth straightening.

There are a number of orthodontic appliances to help with bite modification and alignment in cases such as accelerating lower jaw growth, or to open a deep bite or widen the palate, and to create space for other teeth.

In addition to traditional metal braces, there are also a variety of options for teeth alignment.  These include clear (ceramic) braces and clear aligners (such as Invisalign or Angelalign) which require no wires.

 

How can I maintain my oral hygiene once I have orthodontic treatment?

Having orthodontic treatment requires an investment of both time and money, so it is very important to maintain a high level of oral hygiene. Plaque and bacteria can easily accumulate around the orthodontic appliance. If oral hygiene is poor this may lead to complications such as gum disease or dental decay.

It is extremely vital to clean your teeth thoroughly to prevent decay, gum disease or even areas of discolouration. Keeping away from sugary snacks and drinks is also a must.

It’s recommended to do the following:

 

If you’re not sure where to start, give us a call and schedule your appointment with our experienced dentists or simply book here

What is gum disease?

Gum disease or periodontal disease is generally a slow, chronic infection and inflammation of the gums and bone that support a person's teeth. It occasionally can flareup to become acute and painful or rarely be rapidly progressive, but most of the time people are not aware of the presence of the disease until its more advanced. It is caused by plaque or biofilm - a thick sticky film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth especially around the gum line. Plaque can harden over time to become calculus otherwise known as tartar. When a person's ability to clean his or her own teeth is inadequate and plaque is left undisturbed, the bacteria in the plaque matures, becomes more aggressive and starts invading into the gums.

During the early stages known as gingivitis, the inflammation is superficial and the gums can resolve back to a healthy state without any permanent damage. However when the disease becomes moderate or advanced, the damage to the underlying gums and bone becomes irreversible leading to deep pockets between the teeth and gums, bone loss, gum recession. This can then lead to further problems such as loose teeth, food packing between affected teeth, tooth decay and abscess formation, and ultimately the demise of teeth.

Signs of periodontal diseases to look out for:

It is worth noting that two other major risk factors that make a person susceptible to periodontal disease are smoking and medical conditions such as diabetes. Rarely can genetics also play a part in a person's risk in developing this disease.

Treatment of periodontal disease should involve the following:

Especially if the disease is well advanced, trying to save the tooth is not possible and the affected tooth may have to be removed.

Your dentist or periodontist can further discuss with you options to replace lost or missing teeth such as dentures, bridges or implants. However the long term success of these teeth replacement options also depend on how successful patients can control their gum disease through their oral hygiene.

As periodontal disease can easily recur, it is important that patients undergo regular long term visits to their dentist, hygienist or periodontist for professional cleaning and maintenance. Depending on the patients' ability to clean their teeth and the severity of the disease, this may mean 3 monthly, 4 monthly or 6 monthly visits.

If you are unsure if you have gum disease or require treatment, come down for a friendly consult. It is always better to prevent than to fix these concerns from the start.

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