We are open - safety is our top priority!
Posted on: September 21, 2021
Understanding Sensitive Teeth
Have you ever felt a sharp twinge of pain while eating something hot or cold? What about sweet or sour? If so, you may have sensitive gums or teeth. Believe it or not, sensitive teeth problems are very common. In fact, many Americans go about their daily lives with tooth sensitivity. The good news is that you don’t have to. Sensitivity is an issue that can be treated by visiting a dentist.
The fact that teeth sensitivity is treatable is a good thing because living with sensitivity makes life miserable. Even certain activities, such as flossing and brushing, can be extremely painful. In some cases, you might even feel pain just simply breathing in cold air. Thankfully, learning more about the treatments and causes of tooth sensitivity can lead you down the path to manage or possibly reverse the symptoms.
That brings us to the question, “What causes tooth sensitivity?” In most cases, sensitivity is caused by a wearing away of tooth enamel. Once the enamel wears away too far, the root of the tooth becomes exposed. Other times, sensitivity is caused by cracked teeth or from a decaying tooth. Sometimes sensitivity is caused by receding gums or gum disease.
The best approach to treating your sensitivity depends on the cause of your sensitive teeth. If the cause of your problem is exposed nerves, desensitizing toothpaste can go a long way in easing your pain. Your dentist might even go as far as giving you fluoride supplements that can strengthen your tooth enamel.
If your problem stems from your gums, then your dentist might opt for applying a dental sealant. This helps create a barrier that will block irritants from reaching your nerves. In some cases, you might have to opt for a root canal to address any issues that might be in your dental pulp.
The Most Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
- Brushing your teeth too hard or with a hard-bristle brush can wear down your enamel, which makes your nerves more accessible to the elements. Try brushing your teeth gently and using a toothbrush that has soft bristles.
- Acidic foods can increase the pain you feel from tooth sensitivity. Try your best to avoid tomatoes, citrus fruits and any other food that is high in acidity. This can help to reduce the symptoms that you feel.
- Grinding your teeth while you sleep can expose your dentin. This makes it easier for irritants to come into contact with your nerves. An easy solution for this is to get a night guard from your dentist.
- Many types of mouthwashes and toothpastes have whitening ingredients. Over time, these ingredients can make your teeth more sensitive. Try switching to brands that don’t consist of extra ingredients that whiten your teeth.
- Mouthwash is a common oral hygiene product that often contains alcohol. Instead, switch to rinses that are free of alcohol. If this doesn’t work, avoid using mouthwashes altogether.
- Receding gums is a result of gum disease, which can cause a lot of issues. To treat gum disease, your dentist might opt for treating gum inflammation or applying a sealant.
- After having work done on your teeth, it’s fairly common to have tooth sensitivity. Extractions, root canals and cavity fillings are the most common types of procedures that lead to tooth sensitivity. If it lasts for a long time, consider talking to your dentist to rule out the possibility of infection.
- Cracked or chipped teeth. If you have teeth that are chipped or cracked, tooth sensitivity is inevitable. In this case, you need to see your dentist as soon as you can. If left untreated, you may develop severe pain, not just sensitivity.
- Tooth decay can build up around the edges of your fillings. As old fillings break down, they can leak or fracture. This allows bacteria and acids to break down your enamel. Typically, replacing your fillings is a quick solution to this problem.
As you can see, tooth sensitivity can be the cause of some bad underlying problems. That’s why it’s important to always seek out a dentist to have your tooth sensitivity evaluated.
How to Lower Teeth and Gum Sensitivity
- Schedule an appointment to see your dentist in College Park to improve your overall oral health.
- Stay consistent with your own at-home dental routine.
If you haven’t already, switch to using a soft-bristled brush.
- When brushing your teeth and gums, do so gently.
- Pick a toothpaste that’s specifically designed to target sensitive teeth.
- Use a fluoride mouthwash to further strengthen your teeth.
- If you grind your teeth at night, consider asking your dentist about getting a night guard.
- Try your best to avoid eating very acidic foods. This includes oranges, lemons and tomatoes.
Using these tips, you can improve the pain associated with sensitive teeth. However, knowing what’s causing your sensitivity is very important. For example, if you grind your teeth at night, buying toothpaste for sensitive teeth won’t be enough. Ask your dentist about the benefits of a mouthguard as well.
You may also want to take even more precautions regarding the types of foods that you avoid. While avoiding acidic fruits might be enough for some people, others might need to avoid carbonated beverages. Even wine can break down tooth enamel.
If you simply can’t avoid eating these foods or drinking a fizzy beverage from time to time, consider drinking milk or water soon after. These beverages help neutralize the effects of these foods. That said, don’t brush too quickly after eating them because it can lead to further erosion of your enamel.
Take Control of Your Teeth Sensitivity
Are you ready to take control of your teeth sensitivity? If so, schedule an appointment with your family dentist. In the meantime, try some of these tips:
- Buy desensitizing toothpaste — This type of toothpaste can stop tooth sensitivity in its tracks. It may take a few applications, but you’ll notice a difference in the pain that you feel.
- Believe in fluoride — Strengthening teeth starts with applying fluoride. Applying fluoride to your sensitive teeth can help you avoid worse sensitivity in the future.
- Improve gum health — If your gums have receded, ask your dentist about steps to improve your gum health. In some cases, a gum graft on the root of the tooth might be needed to repair the source of your sensitivity.
The good news is that sensitive teeth and gums aren’t something that you have to live with. Good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing twice a day and visiting your dentist regularly, can reduce and even eliminate tooth sensitivity.