It’s estimated that 45 per cent of Australians suffer from sensitive teeth, but could some innovative science spell the end of this painful and irritating oral issue?
First, we need to know what causes sensitive teeth. Typically, it’s caused by a partially exposed tooth root, which can worsen over time due to ageing, gum disease, teeth grinding or over-brushing. Combined with cold or hot foods, it can make eating and drinking a difficult experience.
If you have sensitivity, you’ll know the stock-standard response when you tell your dentist about it: “Change to a soft tooth brush” “Use a sensitive toothpaste” “Avoid acidic food”, but sometimes this can do little to subside the pain. Now, scientists have found that tissue grafts can have great success in providing more protection for exposed roots.
So how is this done? The dentist will take collagen from donated human tissue or your own, and sew it into the gum line. Once there, your own blood vessels will incorporate the collagen into the body tissue and your gums will regenerate. Your mouth is a marvellous part of your body in that your gums and tissues heal a lot faster than elsewhere, making this new solution for sensitivity a success.
Researchers from the University of Frankfurt have trialled this transplant using bovine (cow) collagen in humans and over half of cases saw complete coverage of the exposed roots. The 14 patients (with 62 recessed gums and exposed teeth between them) were implanted with the cow collagen that had been treated to remove skin, cells and DNA along with any bacteria. After two weeks of no brushing (only mouth wash), the stitches were removed and remarkable results were found: the bovine cells had join with the patient’s own cells to repair the damage and according to lead researcher, Dr Schlee, “In all cases, the healed-over implant improved the look and severity of the recession, and, in over half of all treatments, resulted in total coverage of the exposed root”.
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Most importantly, he also said that “We would not have expected any of these patients to get better without surgery”, showing that this type of implant could change the lives of those who have mild-to-severe sensitivity in their teeth.
With all this explained, would you consider an implant to stop sensitivity? How long have you suffered from sensitive teeth for? Tell us below.