Possible Cure for Sensitive Teeth

8086280099_f87f211e42_bPain from sensitive teeth can make a big impact on your life, making eating and drinking a chore rather than a pleasure. In some cases, a simple glass of cold water can be so painful that patients with sensitive teeth report going thirsty!

Now a possible cure for sensitive teeth is in the works, and it has a really cool name: biomimetic crystalline dentin barrier!

The problem

To understand how this mouthful of a name can fix an over-sensitive tooth, let’s look at how this uncomfortable situation comes about in the first place.

The pain and discomfort associated with sensitive teeth occurs because dentin is exposed. Dentin is a layer of your tooth that lies beneath the enamel. It is softer than enamel and also porous, in fact, it has tiny microtubules that communicate with the nerve endings in your tooth, and this is the source of the pain that patients experience with sensitive teeth.

How does dentin become exposed?

Dentin isn’t meant to be exposed to extremes of temperature– that’s why it has the rock-hard enamel shell. Unfortunately, wear and tear on enamel results in dentin exposure. Worn enamel can occur from cavities or bruxism (tooth grinding).

Dentin can also be exposed from gum disease, like gingivitis.

Current treatments

At the moment, treatments for sensitive teeth involve sealants (such as the ones found in special toothpaste for sensitive teeth) that block the dentin microtubules exposed. While these provide temporary relief, the seals are easily worn off through normal activities like eating food.

The new solution: biomimetic crystalline dentin barrier

Scientists have generated a “biomimetic” material from nano-particles of calcium carbonate and phosphoric acid. If the names sound intimidating, realize that both calcium and carbonate and phosphoric acid are already present in saliva and critical to enamel formation and restoration. What the biomimetic material does is turn the volume up.

The new material is applied directly to the tooth in the form of a paste, providing an artificial barrier that blocks dentin’s microtubules from being exposed to temperature changes.

Not only does it block the microtubules, the new biomimetic material has been shown in trials to increase regeneration of enamel and reduce other health problems associated with worn enamel, such as pulp inflammation. Scientists are hopeful that this potential new treatment will serve to both relieve the symptoms and the source of tooth sensitivity!

The best treatment is prevention

Twice daily oral care and regular visits to Dental Designs, your Vancouver, Washington dentist, are the best way to avoid sensitive teeth. If you experience sensitive teeth, please make an appointment with us– we’re here to help!

Photo Credit: steve p2008 via Compfight cc

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