Sensitive Teeth – Prevention and Treatment
Tooth sensitivity is a common complaint for many dental patients. If you experience pain when eating hot or cold foods, or when brushing or flossing, it’s quite possible that sensitive teeth are to blame. According to the American Dental Association, there are several things that could be causing this sensitivity:
- Tooth decay
- Worn tooth enamel
- A cracked tooth
- Worn fillings
- Exposed roots due to gum recession
When the protective layers of the teeth are worn away as a result of one of these problems, the tooth’s dentin is exposed, which contains many tiny tubes and their enclosed nerve endings. When certain foods or drinks are consumed, contact with these nerves causes throbbing or stinging.
Sticking to a regular oral care routine is a great first step in the prevention of tooth decay and subsequent tooth sensitivity. Make sure you’re not brushing too hard though – brushing with too much pressure or being too aggressive when flossing can cause injury to gums, thereby exposing the roots and nerves of the teeth. Make sure you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently around the gum line.
Certain acidic food and drinks can contribute to loss of tooth enamel. Red wine, pop and acidic foods are the worst culprits. Try to limit these and wait 20 minutes to brush after consuming them. Brushing any earlier than this can be even more harmful to your enamel.
Many sensitive teeth sufferers find relief by using a sensitivity toothpaste. With regular use, symptoms often decrease significantly or disappear altogether. A good tip is to spread a thin layer of sensitivity toothpaste on problem areas before bedtime after brushing and flossing.
Additional treatments for sensitive teeth may also be recommended, such as:
- Fluoride gel
- Gum grafts (to cover the exposed root)
- Root canal (in severe cases)
You don’t need to live with the pain of sensitive teeth – there are many options available to correct the problem! We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have and help you develop a treatment plan to eliminate your tooth sensitivity.
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