The 10 most important tips on sensitive teeth and abrasion
Also here as PDF for download (in german).
Brushing instead of scrubbing
Tooth wear can occur in different forms and due to different causes. It is not uncommon for combinations of different factors to be the cause. So-called wedge-shaped defects (notches in the neck of the tooth, see picture above) are best prevented by using a toothpaste that is not too abrasive (ApaCare® toothpaste with liquid enamel) and a medium-hard toothbrush (ApaCare® Sonic Brush).
When brushing, avoid (unconscious) scrubbing movements and do not press the toothbrush too hard (gums will just whiten under the toothbrush).
Stress and aggression damage teeth
So-called "attritions" occur as sharp-edged eruptions and microfractures, especially at tooth edges in the area of the occlusal surfaces and the incisal edges. This is caused by "2-media wear effects": Tooth against tooth, e.g., due to extensive grinding.
Teeth grinding is an element of tension and stress processing deeply anchored in the nervous system by evolution. This phenomenon cannot usually be treated causally by dental treatment. It is recommended that the dentist make soft wear-protective dental splints, which are often worn at night, or individual types of relaxation (relaxation, relaxation therapy / exercises).
Tooth loss due to improper nutrition
So-called "abrasions" usually appear as two-dimensional wear of the teeth in the occlusal surface area and can be attributed to 3-media wear effects, where abrasive food pulp (e.g. millet porridge, whole grain products, etc.) or habitual objects are chewed between the teeth.
Abrasive foods in combination with habitual consumption of acidic beverages can cause extensive tooth wear within a short period of time, which the dentist is often powerless to prevent. Late consequences can be a lowering of the bite or problems with the temporomandibular joint, which often require extensive rehabilitation treatments. Early dental clarification and nutritional counseling are recommended.
Acids dissolve tooth enamel
So-called "tooth erosions" are usually caused by direct acid action on the tooth surface, usually the enamel, which can be completely dissolved in particularly severe cases. Gastric acid (reflux/bulimia) can lead to erosive enamel defects in the region of the tongue side, primarily of the molars. Fruit acids, acidic foods (vinegar, etc.) or beverages (e.g. cola, white wine, etc.) primarily affect the anterior teeth and occlusal surfaces. Acid erosions appear as round, smooth wear forms and usually end precisely at the gum margins. It is not uncommon for the affected teeth to feel dull for some time immediately after eating acidic foods or drinks. The best prevention is the daily application of repair paste such as ApaCare® Repair in the evening after brushing.
Immediately after consuming acidic foods and beverages, you should refrain from brushing your teeth (wait at least 1 hour). If, for example, you want to drink a glass of fresh orange juice in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening, it is best not to brush your teeth afterwards and brush your teeth thoroughly beforehand.
Tooth malformation / stained teeth
Often similar in appearance, but basically to be distinguished from wear and tear, are "developmental tooth malformations". Their frequency seems to be increasing. Besides genetically caused malformations and anomalies, environmental influences, infectious diseases, medication side effects or trauma are discussed as the main causes. In many cases, the anterior teeth and the first molars (molars) in the posterior region are affected.
Affected individuals should seek prompt professional advice from a dentist. Particular caution is advised in young children (first year of life) when using fluoride tablets or fluoride combination preparations in order to avoid fluoride overdoses in combination with modern fluoride-containing toothpastes for children (risk of dental fluorosis: whitish, rarely brownish enamel stains).
Why tooth necks can become sensitive
Sensitive necks of teeth are widespread. It is estimated that about 40% of all adults between the ages of 20 and 40 are or have been affected. Gum recession and/or wear and tear causes exposed tooth necks or root surfaces. The tooth has many (dentin) tubules in this area, into which nerve processes radiate from the inside of the tooth, surrounded by fluid. Thermal (especially cold) or osmotic (sweet/sour) stimuli can cause this column of fluid to move in the dentinal tubules, which can sometimes cause severe, short-lasting, shooting pain in response to these stimuli.
Many sensitivities disappear all by themselves after some time. Toothpaste with liquid enamel and fluoride (ApaCare®) is the ideal preventive measure.
Are sensitive teeth at risk of loss?
Hypersensitivities can severely impair the quality of life if they are severe, but they correlate with a vital dental pulp (intact dental nerve). Teeth with hypersensitivity reactions do not show higher loss rates than comparable non-sensitive teeth. Consequently, the treatment of hypersensitivity is derived from the individual suffering of the affected person.
Sensitive tooth necks are best treated by daily application of ApaCare® Repair Intensive Repair after brushing. This is best done in the evening after brushing. There should be a considerable lasting improvement after just a few days.
What can be done at home against hypersensitivity?
First of all, it is very important to exclude or minimize the causative factors. This concerns in particular the cause of wear in the neck of the tooth, especially acidic food/drinks, incorrect brushing technique or the use of highly abrasive or whitening toothpastes.
Special toothpastes for sensitive teeth contain different active ingredients that are supposed to dampen the hypersensitive nerve reactions. However, this often does not work sustainably. The most effective way is to close the causative open dentinal tubules with protective toothpastes (e.g. ApaCare® Toothpaste) or repair pastes/gels (e.g. ApaCare® Repair Intensive Repair) after brushing. These contain microfine enamel crystals that penetrate deep into the tubules, where they fuse with the tooth and close the causally open tubules. As a rule, continuous use of these products results in improvement after only a few days.
In severe cases or to intensify the treatment, it is recommended to use ApaCare® Toothpaste and ApaCare® Repair Intensive Repair in combination with dental splints, which are best worn overnight.
What can dentists do against hypersensitive teeth?
Dentists can professionally seal the causally open dentinal tubules. For this purpose, there is a wide range of sealing materials from plastic adhesive (composite) to liquid enamel (ApaCare® dental varnish), which are applied to the affected tooth necks and usually hardened, depending on the individual situation. Only in rare cases are cervical fillings or crowns necessary.
Sensitive tooth necks can be professionally sealed very successfully.
What to do if all this does not help?
Severe cold sensitivity can also be the first signs of reversible or irreversible dental neuritis. In contrast to hypersensitivity reactions, the cold pain in these cases not infrequently lasts longer or is accompanied by radiating pain to warm stimuli. Often, night pain occurs and the painful region begins to radiate. Such symptoms of irreversible dental neuritis should be clarified immediately by a dentist.
In case of doubt, if there is no improvement, the pain increases or if pain is added on warm, a dental clarification is recommended in the short term.