People with straight teeth have a much easier time keeping them clean. But until the braces come off, they have to be especially careful to keep their mouths free of food debris. One of the most reliable signs of tooth decay is sensitivity. If you’ve noticed a shooting pain in your teeth when you eat or drink something cold, we at Dr. Cynthia Wong’s Orland Park orthodontic practice want you to understand why that’s a problem.
It is normal for people to feel pressure after their braces have been tightened. This sensation is noticeably different from the sharp pain that comes from biting into an ice cream sandwich. The inner pulp of our teeth contains a sensitive nerve and the outer layer of the crown, the enamel, is made up of hard minerals. In between them is dentin, a yellow-grey porous substance that heat is easily transmitted through. Although enamel is thick, cementum, the outer layer of a tooth root, is much thinner, leaving the dentin less insulated. When tissue has receded, the tooth roots will become very sensitive to temperature changes.
When enamel has been thinned by acid erosion, the dentin beneath may become visible. Acid erosion and gum recession are usually caused by oral infections. Acid reflux may also be a factor, although usually not in children. Patients who notice sensitivity should make greater effort to clean using a standard tooth brush, Christmas tree brush, and floss threader or super floss. They may also want to try fluoridated toothpaste to help their enamel remineralize and make sure they brush for two whole minutes during each session.