What to do for Sensitive Teeth
May 18, 2018
Do you ever experience a sharp, sudden pain in your teeth when you encounter certain temperatures or substances? If so, you may be one of the more than 40 million Americans affected by tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity occurs when the second layer of the tooth (dentin) becomes exposed. Dentin contains microscopic tubules filled with tiny nerve endings and extend down to the root of your tooth. This delicate layer of the tooth is protected by a hard outer shell of enamel and cementum at the root. When dentin loses its protective layer of enamel or cementum, the nerve endings become exposed, creating a sharp, stinging pain when met with acidic, cold, hot or sticky foods.
Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Grinding or clenching your teeth in your sleep.
Gum recession leaving the root surface exposed.
Gingivitis, results in sore and inflamed gum tissue that exposes the root of the tooth.
Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush.
Cracked teeth, these can fill with bacteria from plaque which can cause inflammation.
Acidic foods and drinks, such as high-sugar carbohydrates, soda and sticky candy, all erode tooth enamel.
Post dental procedure sensitivity. This can be common after a professional cleaning, crowns, fillings or tooth whitening, but the pain should be temporary.
Long-term use of mouthwash. Many over-the-counter mouthwashes contain acids, which can make existing tooth sensitivity worse and further erode the dentin. Neutral fluoride mouthwashes are available as a better option.
In some situations, there may not be a clear cause for your pain, but there are a variety of treatments that can help you mange the sensitivity. A dentist can help reduce the sensitivity by applying in-office fluoride gel to reduce painful sensations and strengthen the tooth enamel. The use of over-the-counter desensitizing toothpastes can also help by blocking off the nerve endings in the exposed dentin. Sensitive teeth toothpaste varieties should also be used to help ease the pain and reduce sensitivity.
If you are suffering from painful sensitivity that prevents you from enjoying your favorite foods, Dr. Boyse at Boyse Dentistry in Mesa, Arizona can help diagnose and treat your sensitive teeth.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Boyse at our Mesa dentist office, please call 480-409-2388 or book an appointment online.