Tooth Sensitivity and Ways to Alleviate the Discomfort

Tooth sensitivity can be a significant discomfort in everyday life, affecting activities such as eating, drinking, and even breathing in cold air. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the dentin, the layer beneath the tooth enamel becomes exposed. Another significant cause of sensitivity is root exposure.

Here are some of the common causes:

1.       Enamel Erosion: Enamel can be eroded by acidic foods and drinks, improper brushing or using a hard bristled toothbrush, excessive plaque buildup or natural wear and tear.

*TIP!* Wait 20 minutes after a meal  before brushing your teeth

2.       Gum Recession: Gum recession can be the result of periodontal disease where the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots. Other causes include aggressive tooth brushing or inadequate dental care.

3.       Bruxism (Teeth Grinding): Grinding or clenching your teeth causes microscopic movement of your teeth within the bone, which can also contribute to gum recession and subsequent root exposure. It can also wear down enamel over time, leading to sensitivity.

4.     Dental Caries and Cracked/Chipped Teeth: Cavities, cracks or chips in a tooth can expose the dentin or even the tooth’s pulp causing sensitivity.

Ways to Manage Sensitivity:

1.       Desensitizing Toothpaste: Using any toothpaste with Stannous fluoride or potassium nitrate such as Sensodyne help block the transmission of sensations from the tooth surface to the nerve, thereby reducing sensitivity. Consistent use over several weeks is often necessary to see significant results.

*TIP!* Apply Sensodyne on the affected area for 60 seconds. Then spit out thoroughly without rinsing and go straight to bed each night.

2.       Soft-Bristled Toothbrushes: Switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle brushing can prevent further root exposure and sensitivity.

3.       Fluoride Treatments: A fluoride varnish can be applied at your next cleaning appointment to help strengthen tooth enamel

4.       Night Guard: If teeth grinding is a problem, a custom night guard can be made to protect you teeth while you sleep.

5.     Desensitizing or Bonding Agents:  A material containing glutaraldehyde, calcium phosphate, oxalate salts or resin can be applied directly onto the exposed dentin to help reduce sensitivity.

6.     Filling and/or Root Canal Treatment: In cases where the tooth sensitivity is severe and persistent, a filling or even a root canal may be necessary.

Living with sensitive teeth can be challenging, but thankfully, there are several effective methods to manage tooth sensitivity. It is essential to consult with your dental professional to determine the underlying cause of your sensitivity and to discuss the best treatment option for your specific situation. If you are struggling with sensitive teeth, do not hesitate to call the office today for an appointment

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