Many people, in fact, an average of 12% of patients (1 in 8 adults) suffer from tooth sensitivity. They will experience mild to moderate pain when their teeth come into contact with substances that are hot, cold, sweet, or sour. The pain is often immediate and excruciating, but not long-lasting.
This hypersensitivity often restricts your patients with regards to what food and drinks they can enjoy, it also means that they are likely to be nervous about dentist appointments. It’s important to understand your sensitive patients in order to serve them properly so that they can come into your practice without being afraid.
Knowing everything that you can about teeth hypersensitivity allows you to better treat patients and address the concern or fear of suffering tooth sensitivity during their treatments. One of the crucial factors of dealing with these patients is helping them to understand what the condition is, what causes it and how you can use procedures or products to treat it.
Here are some simple steps on how to explain these concepts to your sensitive patients:
What is teeth hypersensitivity?
In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the underlying, softer layer – dentin – that contains thousands of microscopic channels that lead straight to the tooth pulp. If enamel is broken down, or the gum line recedes, the sensitive dentin is exposed; the dentin is connected to the tooth nerve, and that’s what causes the sensitive reaction.
When the dentin becomes exposed to substances that are hot, cold, sweet, or sour – it reaches the nerve and results in immediate, intense pain.
What causes teeth hypersensitivity?
There are a number of things that cause teeth hypersensitivity and it’s important to figure out which one your patient is experiencing. These are the most common causes of the condition:
- Enamel damage: There are a number of different factors when it comes to enamel damage. It could be an effect of brushing too vigorously, acidic food and drinks, long-term use of mouthwash, as well as teeth grinding or clenching
- Cracked/damaged teeth: cracked and damaged teeth open up opportunities for the growth of bacteria that can cause pulp inflammation or an abscess and infection
- Over the counter teeth whitening: Teeth whitening products that are store bought often contain harsh chemicals and acids that strip the enamel from teeth.
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis often results in sore, swollen gums that can expose the roots of teeth.
What are the whitening treatment plans for sensitive teeth?
You have to explain to your patients that there is no single treatment for their tooth sensitivity, and that their experience will vary according to the cause of their sensitivity. Understanding the reason for their sensitivity is the most important step in starting the appropriate teeth whitening treatment.
Some of the options you could suggest to your patients are:
- Teeth grinding prevention: If your client’s problem is specific to teeth grinding then it’s best to suggest a mouth guard to prevent further damage
- Change in toothbrush and brushing technique: Changing to a softer toothbrush and giving advice on the correct technique for brushing will help if your patient is wearing away their enamel
- Avoiding highly acidic foods: Acidic foods strip the teeth of enamel, and they should be avoided where possible to prevent further damage.
- Use desensitizing toothpastes and gels: This also provides an opportunity to provide patients with other take-home products such as Enamelon Preventive Treatment Gel and UltraEZthat are highly effective in reducing teeth sensitivity,
- If the patient is looking for teeth whitening treatments, but they have teeth sensitivity issues, then suggest the Bianco Professional Teeth Whitening system. The chemical components in Bianco Professional Teeth Whitening system help minimise sensitivity issues; some patients don’t even feel it
Remember to point out to your patients that these treatments are unlikely to work in a vacuum, and they will be more effective when there is a combination of treatments.
At Gunz Dental we have a sensational range of products for teeth whitening and sensitive teeth treatment that can be combined to create an effective and efficient treatment plan for your patients. Check out our exclusive Enamelon product range. UltraEZ and tooth whitening product range for more information.