Wincing when you Smile: Sensitive Teeth

Wincing when you Smile: Sensitive Teeth

When sensitive teeth leaving you wincing

Is the feel of a cold drink, ice-cream or even hot soup a painful experience? Even occasionally? If brushing and flossing make you squirm, or breathing in crisp morning air, you may be suffering from hyper sensitive teeth.  Sometimes even sour and sweet things can set off an uncomfortable sensation. When this happens there are a variety of issues that your dentist can help you resolve in order to be able to enjoy foods and activities like you once did.

Possible causes include:

Hot and cold things, sweet and sour or even the feel of flossing and brushing can be excruciating if you have sensitive teeth

Hot and cold things, sweet and sour or even the feel of flossing and brushing can be excruciating if you have sensitive teeth

  • Decay. Cavities can allow nerves inside the tooth to be exposed to the extremes of hot and cold.
  • Fractured teeth. Broken teeth can obviously expose the tooth’s nerve to stimulus, but even cracks and fissures in the enamel can weaken a tooths protection from environmental extremes and stimulation.
  • Worn-out fillings.  It may be news to some patients but fillings often need, periodic, and routine replacement.
  • Gum Disease. Gingivitis and periodontal disease can stress the tooths delicate nerve making it more prone to becoming sensitive, also as diseased gums receded due to inflammation, infection and bacterial toxins the root of the tooth becomes more exposed, further reducing natural protection from soft tissues.
  • Worn enamel.  Enamel wears as we age, the thinner the enamel the easier it becomes for the cold and heat to travel through the porous dentin and enamel.
  • Exposed tooth root.  The roots of our teeth are intended to be covered and protected by gum tissue. Injuries, gum disease, harsh brushing and flossing practices can all affect gum health.

The common thread in tooth hypersensitivity

In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel goes over the portion of tooth above the gumline, protecting the sensitive parts inside teeth.  Below the gum line another protective layer–called cementum–protects the lower half of the tooth. When these layers are compromised the dentin inside the tooth may be the only barrier between the nerve and outside stimulus.

Sensitive teeth can be treated

The type of treatment will depend on the cause of the sensitivity and the recommendations your doctor thinks will help most

Some patients can alleviate symptoms with desensitizing toothpaste and remineralization efforts. Other recommended treatments may require procedures to bond or overlay the affected tooth or a portion of the tooth, including replacing old fillings.  Other patients may need surgical measures to restore soft tissue and the gum line.

Prevention is key

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing hypersensitive teeth and pain associated with decay, gum disease, worn enamel and loose or worn fillings.

 

Eliminating Exposure to BPA For Teeth’s Sake

Eliminating Exposure to BPA For Teeth’s Sake

Protecting teeth and eliminating exposure to harmful industrial chemicals (BPA) especially in young children and infants

BPA (-Bisphenol A ) has been around for a while, just about everyone has heard that BPA is bad for you, beyond that many of us are still not sure on the specific threat.  Since the 1960’s BPA has been used to coat the inside everything from food carrying container trucks, soda cans and to strengthen plastics designed to hold liquids and food. The industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate, a hard, clear plastic, can also be found in epoxy resins.

Originally licensed by the Food and Drug Administration – FDA, as a food additive, it has long been known that BPA’s would leach into food and beverages that they came into contact with.

BPA interrupts endocrine processes, essentially the hormones that regulate and direct everything in the body from puberty, growth in babies, organs, including teeth and growth rates, even insulin production. The latest evidence in a growing body of research on the harmful effects of the chemical BPA continues to demonstrate damaging consequences to the natural development of the enamel of teeth. In a study led by Ariane Berdal of the Université Paris-Diderot and Sylvie Babajko, results on the teeth of rats treated with low daily doses of BPA appear to show damage to tooth enamel, echoing a pathology of tooth enamel which is turning up in children today between the ages of 6 and 8.

Analysis of results in the test rats showed numerous features that bear a striking resemblance to a condition called MIH (Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation) that specifically targets first molars and permanent incisors. This enamel pathology is found in roughly 18 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 8 and causes teeth to be hypersensitive to pain and predisposed to cavities. This latest study appears to be pointing to BPA exposure as the potential culprit in the increasing cases of MIH, which may be only the tip of the iceberg.

Why is this a big deal?

BPA is a chemical compound used in the manufacture of food and beverage containers such as water, juice or soda bottles and, most damaging of all; in the production of babies’ bottles. It is also used for the protective films inside drinks cans and food tins. BPA is the key element in polycarbonate synthetics and epoxy resins — about three million tons being produced annually all over the world. With so much BPA in products today, significant amounts of BPA are showing up in human blood, urine, and able to infiltrate amniotic liquid and placentas – potentially affecting developing fetuses. Earlier studies on this toxic substance have shown that it has adverse effects on the reproduction, development and metabolism of laboratory animals and is suspected of causing the same effects on humans.

Early damage to teeth may indicate more problems down the road

BPA-free multicolor baby bottles for infant formula

BPA-free multicolor baby bottles for infant formula

Significant to the Berdal study, the first telltale indicator of damage caused by the early introduction of endocrine disruptors, (including BPA) was the appearance of “white marks” on the incisors of rats treated. The researchers decided to define the characteristics of incisors of rats treated with low doses of BPA and to compare these with the characteristics of teeth in humans suffering from MIH. Macroscopic observation of marks on both series of teeth tested showed similarities, specifically; fragile and brittle enamel – the earliest signs associated with the presence of BPA and perhaps the precursor of more BPA associated health problems down the road.

How babies are affected by BPA

When you consider that BPA is so prevalent in our world today that about 90 percent of the population has it coursing through their blood stream and sensitive tissues, obtained primarily by eating foods that come from containers made with BPA. It is also floating freely in our environment, in the air we breathe, in dust particles, and in our water supply. Although mature adults are also at risk for the health consequences associated with BPA, fetuses and young children have the most to lose. Babies who are fed formula using polycarbonate bottles are especially at risk. A Swiss study conducted in 2010 revealed that babies and infants actually absorb the most BPA, primarily through the use of baby bottles, on average taking in 0.8 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. Harmful even in small doses –BPA is a hormonally active substance that mimics the natural hormone estrogen and as an anti-androgen. Even small amounts of BPA in the system can have a negative impact on sexual development, especially for male fetuses and growing babies. So alarming are the results of on-going studies that the FDA has begun to express more concern about the potential effects of BPA on the endocrine system; brain, behavior, and prostate glands – particularly in fetuses, infants and young children (developing bodies of children are less efficient at eliminating toxic chemical substances from their systems).

Worldwide

Concerns about BPA have led to the production of BPA-free plastic products. Europe banned baby bottles containing the chemical in January 2011. The U.S. took similar action in July of last year. While the Food and Drug Administration continues to declare BPA safe for human consumption, meanwhile France and other countries have been working on initiatives to ban it entirely.

The Code of Tooth Sensitivity

The Code of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity

Sharp or subtle, when teeth become sensitive to the foods you eat or drink, even the activity of your day it affects your quality of life. It also may be affecting your health.  A variety of circumstances can lead to tooth sensitivity, all of them indicating that its time to do something different. From serious likelihood of infection to simple remineralization this article can help you determine what actions to start with.  bigstock-Face-full-of-pain-51688675

Teeth Are Alive

Teeth are alive, each tooth with it’s own nutrifying blood source, it’s own dedicated nerve and a living ligament to keep it anchored into the jaw bone. For this reason each tooth has the potential to cause you a significant amount of pain if something goes amiss. Think of tooth sensitivity as a red flag, a warning signal, your teeth’s way to communicate with the rest of the body when something is wrong.

Your teeth have several defenses to the help protect and keep them healthy. Below the gum line there is the periodontal ligament and the jawbone, these, paired with the gums themselves are essential to keeping teeth healthy, and alive. They provide protection, ensure healthy blood supply and encapsulate over half of the tooth to provide strength and leverage for chewing and biting. That slippery stuff known as saliva plays another huge role in keeping teeth clean, healthy, strong and alive.  Then there is the layer of enamel on the outside of the tooth, enamel also provides strength and bears the burden of being the last line of defense. The stronger your enamel the better teeth can fend off attacks from bacteria and decay, enamel even buffers the effects wear and tear.

anatomy of a healthy tooth

A Variety of Causes For Tooth Sensitivity

Triggering tooth sensitivity with a sip of a hot drink, a bite of cold ice cream, sometimes just breathing in fresh air or biting into something sweet is no fun, while getting at the cause can be a bit tricky, many people find it reassuring that tooth sensitivity is fixable. Here are some of the most common related types of tooth sensitivity:

  • Sinus problems can make teeth hurt, ache or become sensitive. Pressure in the maxillary sinus just above the jaw bone can push down into the jaw bone and surrounding nerves causing inflammation in surrounding tissues, including the nerve tissues of your teeth.
  • Orthodontic work can also make teeth ache, and become sensitive as the teeth and periodontal ligaments are adjusted to their proper alignment.

While the previous causes of tooth sensitivity may not require the attention of your dentist, the next few warrant a call and an appointment as soon as possible

  • Infections in the root of a tooth also make teeth hypersensitive to sensation, including hot, cold, sweet and sour, you may not be able to see anything wrong on the tooth or in the mouth.
  • Abscesses and periodontal infections tend to be associated with a lot of pain, not just sensitivity to hot or cold. There can, however be just deep sensitivity, especially at the initial onset of infection.
  • Cavities. or decay in the tooth itself, can cause tooth sensitivity especially when a cavity is still new and has not fully infected the root.
  • Several teeth hurting in one localized area of the mouth can be from;
    • Infection, as bacteria multiply and invade surrounding tissues the infection can spread, additionally as infection compounds–or gets worse–the blood supply to healthy tissue becomes compromised thus aiding in the spread of the infection as healthy tissues die.
    • Injury, in the instance of a broken tooth or a tooth loosened from trauma, may allow surrounding tissues to become inflamed.  The nerve or nerves (if several nearby teeth are also disturbed) become over stimulated and begin sending alarms to the brain that things are in need of repair.
    • teeth grinding or bruxism can cause localized sensitivity or even pain. Clenching or grinding the teeth–usually at night or while sleeping–can crack, fracture or even break teeth. The cracks and fissures can cause sensitivity as the enamel can no longer properly protect the nerve inside the tooth. Because of the irregular bite and tooth alignment in some mouths, it is possible to have one area of the mouth affected more than other parts of the mouth.
    • Failing dental work. If you have fillings, bridges, crowns or other dental work and the teeth involved or surrounding teeth are sensitive or hurting it could mean your dental work is failing.

So far all of the circumstances we have covered are situations that you may have little control to “fixing” by yourself. While there may be a few other causes of tooth sensitivity the ones in this article are the most typical and the last reason is, by far, one of the most common. Thankfully it is one that you can improve the symptoms of, even sometimes eliminating tooth sensitivity all together.

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive Teeth

  • Thin, weak, and worn out tooth enamel is the most common cause of sensitive teeth. Your teeth are formed with a dense, strong coating of enamel. As you age, chewing, various foods, and the things you drink wear down and even soften the enamel making it thinner and more porous. Thereby allowing the delicate nerve inside to be over stimulated. Dentist once believed that there was very little to do if tooth enamel began to fail. Modern dentistry has better been able to definitively determine factors that can aid in remineralization of enamel weakened or worn out.
    • There are foods and diets that aid in remineralization.
    • Oil pulling can increase the enamels ability to absorb good minerals and improve the natural balance of your saliva while reducing pathogens.
    • Homemade toothpaste, the best of which employ added minerals, can not only whiten teeth but add needed minerals to reinforce and help fill in overly porous enamel, eventually leading to diminished tooth sensitivity.

For more information on tooth sensitivity click on the links throughout the article or call our office to talk with a specialist today. At Marilyn K Jones Dentisty, we have the skills, experience, and expertise you need to ensure a healthy mouth and teeth.  Call or visit today: Marilyn K Jones DDS, (713).785.7767 and at mjones@hal-pc.org.