Teeth desensitisation is carried out to manage repeated episodes of transient, sharp pain when eating sweet, sour or acidic food; drinking hot or cold drinks; or sucking air through the teeth. The most common causes of teeth sensitivity include loss of the enamel shell (due to decay, trauma or wear), exposure of the tooth root (due to gum disease or overzealous brushing), and cracked teeth. Patients who are afflicted with grinding habits, have received head and neck radiotherapy, suffering from bulimia or gastro-oesophageal reflux are at a higher risk of experiencing teeth sensitivity.

Benefits of treatment.

Treatment allows you to resume normal function, minus the sensitivity.

What will the dentist do?

The dentist will do an oral examination, conduct special investigations or take x-rays of your teeth to determine the underlying cause of the sensitivity. Once the underlying cause is determined, treatment may consist of one or more of the following: personal use of desensitising toothpastes, fluoride gel application, fillings, crowning, gum grafting or root canal treatment.

How long will it take?

The procedure time is dependent on the treatment plan. Fluoride gel application and fillings are relatively simple and can be completed within a single visit whereas more complex procedures may require multiple visits or even require the attention of a specialist.

What will the experience be like?

The experience may vary depending on the treatment plan. Fluoride gel application is painless and only requires an hour of abstinence from eating and drinking after the procedure. Other treatment may require the use of local anaesthetics and involve tooth preparation.

How long will it last?

Recurrence of teeth sensitivity hinges on the management of the underlying cause and chosen treatment. Your dentist will often recommend a conservative treatment approach, supported by an action plan to manage the underlying cause at the start. Example, a person who is experiencing teeth sensitivity due to overzealous brushing may be treated with fluoride gel application and modification of existing brushing technique or frequency. Another example, a person who suffers from excessive enamel wear due to teeth grinding when sleeping may be treated with a combination of crowning and use of a night guard.

Are there any risks?

Treatment risk is dependent on the chosen treatment. Fluoride gel application and fillings are safe, with little or no risk. The potential risk for complications increases with more advanced treatment options such as gum grafting or root canal treatment although it is still considered to be relatively low.