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Teeth Sensitivity: What both the health sciences have to offer?

Sensitivity of teeth is described in detail, in Sushruta Samhita and other ancient scriptures.

It looks like sensitive teeth were as important a phenomenon 3000 years back as it is today. For me, a Periodontist, generalized teeth sensitivity has been one of the most annoying and frustrating condition to treat.

शीतरुक्षप्रवाताम्लस्पर्शानामसहा द्विजा:   l

पित्तामारुतकोपेन दन्तहर्ष: स नामत:    ll                                                         नि. र. २. पृ. ७५२.

दशना: शीतमुष्णं च सहन्तेस्पर्शनं न च   l

यस्य तं दन्तहर्ष तु व्याधिविद्यात् समीरणात्   ll                                                      सु. नि. १६-३२.

दंतहर्षे प्रवाताम्लशीतभक्ष्यासहा द्विजा:    l

भवन्त्यमलाशनेनैव सरुजाश्चलिता इव       ll                                                           वा. उ. २१-१२.

Cold, hot, dry, sour food and cold breeze produce pain and mobility of teeth is called DANTAHARSHA. Vitiated Pitta and Vata causes it.

In Allopathy, we say the sensitivity of teeth occur because protective layer of Enamel or Cementum disappear, due to faulty tooth brushing, chronic nausea-vomiting, receding gums due to pyorrhoea-gum diseases, after gum surgeries, cavities in the teeth, wear and tear of teeth exposing inner layer of tooth -Dentin which has nerve endings. These nerve endings respond with sensitivity to touch, air, cold or sour food etc.

We can see how similar both these explanations are.

What actually happens at the Dentin? The hydrodynamic theory of Allopathy says that it is displacement of fluid in the dentin tubules which irritate the nerve endings and sensitivity results. It is strikingly similar to what Ayurveda has to say about it. As mentioned in the shlok above, abnormal Vata causes sensitivity according to Ayurveda. Vata is responsible for all the functions related to movements, including movement of fluids. So, both the health sciences are again telling the same things. Only our approaches are different.

We have many remedies for it like desensitizing pastes for the patients to use and various chairside treatments a dentist can do. As a last resort we may have to do a root canal treatment to remove the nerve inside the tooth so that the response of sensitivity is eliminated altogether. But when the sensitivity is in all or most of the teeth, doing a root canal treatment and capping for all the teeth is not practical, advisable or feasible always.

This is the reason why I felt frustrated while treating generalized sensitivity of teeth.

It was kind of fascinating to see that Ayurveda also has some very effective protocols to handle sensitive teeth.  There is medicated oil pulling Gandusha, Kavalgrah- gargling with decoctions, Agni karma – cauterization and Pratisarana-massaging, etc. Different combinations of these treatments are used for different patients.

Who can benefit?

  1. Cancer patients many a times develop sever sensitivity of teeth because of nausea and vomiting which occur as a side effect of treatments.
  2. Patients with receding gums for no particular reasons develop severe teeth sensitivity.
  3. Patients with faulty tooth brushing habits have excessive wearing of Enamel. They develop generalized sensitivity.
  4. Patients having grinding and clenching habits under stressful situation, wear off their tooth enamel and develop sensitivity.
  5. Patients undergoing gum surgeries develop temporary sensitivity of teeth.

 

Evidence?

There are not many research projects carried out for Ayurveda treatments on sensitive teeth, the way modern bioscience would want to. Publications are few. However, Ayurveda texts and scriptures have plenty of citations of teeth sensitivity, its treatments and the medicines used.

  1. Madhu Sudhana Rao, J. Kranthi, K. Srinivas Rao, Swapna Vallabh. Arimedadi Taila, an Alternative Remedy in the Management of Dental Diseases; April, 2014 Vol 3 Issue 4 IJIRD:55-58
  2. Amruthesh S. Dentistry and ayurveda - IV: Classifi cation and management of common oral diseases. Indian J Dent Res 2008; 19:52-61.
  3. Waseem Mohamed A, Ahmed Mohamed Elmarakby, Mohammed Jamal Alkhanani, Abdulmohsen Saleh Alghabban. How to Deal with Cervical Tooth Sensitivity (Review). Mod Res Dent. 1(1). MRD.000502. 2017.

 

As suggested in a recent review by Waseem Mohamed Alsaydali, “One of the most perplexing minor tooth maladies is cervical tooth sensitivity.” https://crimsonpublishers.com/mrd/pdf/MRD.000502.pdf

At least now, the patients and dentists have an option to choose between Allopathy, Ayurveda or integration of both for treatment of sensitive teeth

Dr. Vaibhavi Joshipura

Periodontist (Gum Specialist) MDS, Periodontics/Periodontology, PhD. Periodontics/Periodontology