It seems like everyone has been there: you bite into something hot or cold, or simply take a breath of chilled air, and your tooth is suddenly throbbing in pain. Sensitive teeth are a common problem and dental complaint in the Smokey Point and Marysville, WA areas. The good news is that the condition is treatable, and in no time, you can go back to enjoying hot and cold drinks without fear.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Addressing the cause of sensitive teeth is important when it comes to treating it. Two things generally lead to this condition. Enamel is the protective covering over your teeth, and if this material thins or wears down, there’s less space between your nerve and whatever your teeth are get exposed to. Sugary drinks, acid reflux, and dry mouth can all lead to enamel dying off and thinning.
Another less-known cause of wearing down enamel is aggressive brushing or using hard bristles. Even stress and the grinding of teeth can cause enamel to wear and crack resulting in sensitive teeth. Pregnancy can also cause a loss of minerals in teeth, which can lead to increased tooth sensitivity. Exposed roots are another issue, as tooth roots are very close to your nerve endings. Gum disease is a common cause, and smoking and aging can also cause receding gums.
What Can You Do?
For mild cases of sensitive teeth, you may be able to treat the condition at home. There are over-the-counter treatments available for this problem. Sensitive tooth kits may be available in the store and are easy to apply. For mild sensitivity, they may help to block out the pain associated with hot, cold, sweet, or spicy foods.
An easier method may be to try desensitizing toothpaste, and your dentist could recommend this. This is also available in the store, and it may take a few (gentle) brushing sessions for pain relief to kick in. A variety of toothpastes are available for this purpose. Also, you may simply need to change your toothbrush. Try to get one with softer bristles than the one you have now and see if using that reduces your tooth sensitivity. If you don’t feel relief from over-the-counter methods, your dentist should be able to help with a few different treatments for sensitive teeth.
What Can Your Dentist Do?
Fluoride applications directly to your teeth can be done in the dental office to add strength to your enamel and reduce sensitive teeth. This in turn can cut down on the pain. If that treatment isn’t enough, your dentist can offer a prescription for a home fluoride treatment. If your tooth roots are exposed, your dentist can also try to graft your gums over the problem area, or he or she can apply resin to the exposed root area.
Occasionally, however, these treatments don’t work or eliminate the pain, so a root canal may be performed in cases of severe pain. During this procedure, your dentist will numb you, and then treat the core of your tooth directly. This is a very effective method for stopping tooth sensitivity.
If you have any questions about the best method for treating your sensitive teeth, we’re here to help at Seven Lakes Dental. After all, patient comfort is our number one goal. Contact us today with your questions or concerns.