Do you ever feel a twinge of discomfort when you’re trying to enjoy a hot coffee? Is ice-cream often a painful experience for you? If you answered yes, you may be suffering from sensitive teeth. All too often, we see people suffering in silence, unaware of why they’re experiencing discomfort, and that there are many treatment options that offer sensitive teeth pain relief.
Knowing what the sensitive teeth symptoms and causes are, and finding the right tooth sensitivity treatment option for you can help alleviate the unwelcome tenderness going on in your mouth, leaving you to enjoy life again!
Sensitive Teeth Symptoms
Knowing the symptoms of sensitive teeth is the first step to being able to treat this painful problem. Whilst there are many sensitive teeth symptoms, here’s a list of the most common to keep an eye on:
- Momentary pain and sensitive teeth on eating hot or cold foods
- Sharp pain when biting down on food, especially if sugary or sour
- Cold air causing a burning sensation on your teeth
- Pain when eating acidic food such as citrus fruit
- Discomfort when brushing or flossing your teeth
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Sensitive teeth occur when a hot or cold stimulus is exposed to the layer of dentin which lies beneath the hard, white enamel. When dentin loses its protective covering, the nerves within the teeth lose their buffer. Knowing what causes sensitive teeth can bring you one step closer to avoiding the problem.
1) Too much brushing! Whilst some people think brushing hard means they’re brushing better, it can actually be counterproductive for your oral health. Sometimes sensitive tooth can actually be caused by brushing with too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Over time, you can wear down the protective layers of your teeth and expose microscopic hollow tubes or canals that lead to your dental nerves. When these tubes are exposed to extreme temperatures or acidic or sticky foods, sensitive teeth and discomfort can result.
2) You’re a tooth-grinder: Even though tooth enamel is the strongest substance in your body, grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel. By doing so, you expose the dentin, or the middle layer of the tooth, which contains the hollow tubes that lead to your nerves.
3) Chewing ice: If you chew on ice, it’s a habit you should consider stopping, as it can crack the enamel of your teeth.
4) Your diet: Eating acidic or hard foods can harm your teeth. Juices, citrus fruits, and sports drinks can also contribute to having sensitive teeth.
5) Tooth decay: Even a small cavity can eat away enough enamel to expose dentin and cause sensitive teeth.
What tooth sensitivity treatment options are there?
The good news is, sensitive teeth can be prevented if you practice good dental hygiene, we recommend the following:
- Using a very soft toothbrush
- Replace your toothbrush every three months
- Brush your teeth twice a day to stop more problems arising
- Brush immediately after eating or drinking anything that has a high acid or sugar content
- Brush with a toothpaste especially for sensitive teeth
- Flossing every day
- Get regular check ups with your dentist
If you are already experiencing severe sensitivity, you may need a professional tooth sensitivity treatment. Sensitive teeth pain relief can be administered by your dentist through any of the following options, depending on which is right for you.
1) Fluoride: Your dentist might apply fluoride to the sensitive areas of your teeth to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce pain. They may also suggest the use of prescription fluoride at home, applied via a custom tray.
2) Desensitizing or bonding: Occasionally, exposed root surfaces can be treated by applying bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces. A local anesthetic might be needed.
3) Surgical gum graft: If your tooth root has lost gum tissue, a small amount of gum tissue can be taken from elsewhere in your mouth and attached to the affected site. This can protect exposed roots and reduce sensitivity.
4) Root canal: If your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments aren’t effective, your dentist might recommend a root canal — a procedure used to treat problems in the tooth’s dental pulp. While this might seem like a significant treatment, it’s considered the most successful technique for eliminating sensitive teeth.
Need advice on managing sensitive teeth? We are here to help at anytime, and can answer any questions you have, call or book an appointment today.