If you've ever bitten into an ice cream treat and been rewarded with a jolt of pain, you know how aggravating it can be to have sensitive teeth. Or perhaps it's not cold that causes you pain – for some, heat or even sugary or sour foods trigger sensitivity. And beyond making it no fun to eat certain foods, sensitive teeth can also make it difficult to brush and floss properly.
While sensitive teeth may not seem like a huge problem, many of the causes of sensitive teeth are things that can worsen over time. For this reason, it's important to tell your dentist if you're experiencing sensitivity. He or she may have a number of suggestions to treat your sensitivity depending on what the root cause is.
Special Toothpaste – This is the simplest treatment, and you can even begin it while you're waiting for a dental appointment. Toothpastes formulated for sensitive teeth are made to block pain transmission within your teeth. You may find your discomfort improves a few weeks after switching to sensitive toothpaste; however, it's still important that you see your dentist to make sure there's not a more serious underlying issue like tooth decay.
Fluoride – Tooth sensitivity is often caused by worn enamel, which allows substances to enter your teeth and trigger the nerves inside. If this is the case, using a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash can help to rebuild your tooth enamel. You can have fluoride gel applied to your teeth by your dentist, and he or she may also give you a stronger prescription toothpaste or mouthwash, containing more fluoride than you can buy in the store.
Bonding – Sometimes, sensitivity is caused by exposed roots. In this case, covering the exposed area with some composite bonding is one way to protect the sensitive part of the tooth. Bonding can also be used if a flaw in the tooth's surface is allowing materials to get inside and cause pain.
Gum Graft – Another way to deal with exposed roots is through a gum graft. If the roots of your teeth are exposed because your gums are receding from your teeth, gum tissue can be transplanted from elsewhere in your mouth. This tissue will fuse with your current gums, rebuilding the area where tissue loss occurred.
Stopping Bad Habits – There are a few things that you might be doing that worsen your sensitivity. While good hygiene is important, you might be brushing too hard – wearing down your teeth and irritating your gums. Try brushing in a gentle, circular motion with a soft-bristled brush.
If you have recently had your teeth bleached or used a home tooth whitening product, this may be causing temporary sensitivity as well. And if your dentist thinks your teeth are sensitive due to being worn down by grinding, you may be given a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
Whatever the cause, sensitivity is a sign that something is wrong with your teeth. So don't ignore it and give up eating the foods you enjoy – get it treated and keep your smile healthy. contact a professional like James J. Susack, DMD, PC for more information.