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Posted on: October 7, 2021
Understanding Sensitive Teeth
If eating acidic foods and drinking icy beverages cause your teeth to hurt or send out sharp, stinging pains, then you may have sensitive teeth. It’s a common condition currently, and it’s very treatable and curable.
Those with sensitive teeth know how miserable it can be when they can’t eat their favorite foods, drink their favorite beverages, or engage in their favorite outdoor activities. Some people find that their teeth are so sensitive that cold air makes them hurt. However, your sensitive teeth can be treated and cured by changing a few lifestyle habits and consulting with your dentist. Once you learn the causes of the pain and how to treat them, thus avoiding the pain, you can resume your favorite outdoor activities and eating your favorite foods.
When your tooth enamel erodes, it can lessen or remove the barrier it provides between your tooth roots and nerves, which results in the sharp, stinging pains you experience. Erosion of your tooth enamel can occur as the result of overly aggressive brushing or inadequate oral hygiene. When you eat or drink anything, acids are formed that help break down the food for digestion. When the acid remains on your teeth, then it attacks the tooth enamel, which then begins to erode.
The best treatment protocol for your sensitive teeth will depend on the cause of the pain. Overly aggressive brushing habits can damage your tooth enamel, so consider switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle pressure. Cracked or chipped teeth can also cause tooth pain because it allows bacteria to enter and form decay. Your dentist can treat the decay and install a filling or a dental crown so that your tooth is fully functional once again. If your pain is caused by receding gums that are the consequence of gum disease, your dentist can treat the inflammation that’s causing the gum disease. They’ll apply a sealant to block irritants from reaching the tooth roots and nerves. If you have gum disease, get treatment promptly because it can cause you to lose all your teeth.
If you currently use toothpaste and mouthwash formulated for sensitive teeth and they haven’t been effective, your dentist may recommend desensitizing toothpaste. Desensitizing toothpaste protects your tooth roots and nerve endings from contact with substances that cause pain, so it works differently than those formulated for sensitive teeth. Your dentist may also recommend fluoride supplements to strengthen your tooth enamel or fluoride applications. The topical application can be applied to specific areas of your teeth, to the entire surfaces of your teeth, or as a sealant that prohibits substances from reaching your tooth enamel. Sealants also prevent food particles from lodging between your teeth and forming decay.
If none of these treatments are successful, your dentist may recommend a root canal and dental cap to restore functionality to your teeth and eliminate the pain. Usually, a root canal is the last resort and used only when other options have been ineffective.
What Are The Common Causes Of Sensitive Teeth?
Although tooth sensitivity can have an underlying health issue, it’s more commonly caused by the following:
- Aggressive brushing habits with a hard-bristled toothbrush: Switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and using gentle pressure can alleviate the problem, but it won’t undo any damage, so consider using a toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride.
- Acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, and pickles: Avoiding these foods will help, but if you consume them, then rinse your mouth with plain water afterward, so the acid doesn’t remain on your teeth.
- Bruxism: Also called tooth grinding, it can damage the enamel on your teeth and cause chips or cracks. Talk to your dentist about a custom nightguard to protect your teeth at night. Get your nightguard from your dentist rather than the local superstore, though, because the generic ones don’t fit well, they’re uncomfortable, and they may fall out during the night.
- Alcohol: Along with other ingredients in your mouthwash, alcohol can cause tooth pain. If you’re already using mouthwash for sensitive teeth, try switching to desensitizing mouthwash.
- Receding gums: Receding gums can expose your tooth roots and nerves and cause excruciating pain. If your receding gums are due to gum disease, you need to treat both without delay. Untreated gum disease will cause all your teeth to fall out, but when treated early, it’s completely curable. Your dentist can treat the inflammation and apply a sealant to keep irritants from your tooth roots and nerves.
- Recent dental procedures: These can temporarily increase tooth sensitivity, but it shouldn’t last for more than a few days. If it does, contact your dentist.
- Cracked or chipped teeth: These can cause pain if bacteria has entered and started to decay. Make a dental appointment immediately to save your tooth and eliminate the pain.
- Tooth-whiteners: Substances in tooth-whiteners can cause pain in sensitive teeth, whether they’re in a kit, your toothpaste, or your mouthwash, so look for formulas designed for sensitive teeth.
- Filling failure: A failed filling can cause tooth sensitivity if it has allowed bacteria to gain access to your inner tooth. If you notice decay around the edges of an old filling, the filling may have failed and needs to be replaced. Usually, all that’s required is to remove and replace the failed filling.
Since there can be underlying health reasons for your sensitive teeth, it’s prudent to make an appointment with your dentist to eliminate that possibility.
How Can I Help My Sensitive Teeth?
The following tips may help reduce or eliminate your sensitive teeth:
- Make regular dental cleanings and checkups part of your oral health regimen. Your Sarasota dentist can spot issues that you might have missed.
- Don’t skip your dental hygiene routine, morning or evening. No matter how exhausted you are or how little time you have in the morning, make dental care a priority.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash that’s formulated for sensitive teeth.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure when brushing.
- Floss daily at a minimum to remove any food particles that may start plaque and decay.
- Avoid acidic foods and beverages, but if you consume them, rinse thoroughly with water afterward.
- Wear a nightguard if you have bruxism.
When you know how to treat your sensitive teeth, you can minimize their impact on your life and concentrate on curing their causes. Talk to your dentist about your sensitive teeth and ask for their recommendations on your best course of action.
Don’t continue to suffer from tooth pain. With a choice of easy treatments and cures, you can be free of tooth pain in almost no time. When you take good care of your teeth, they can last throughout your lifetime, and you won’t need expensive and uncomfortable false teeth or implants.