Do you avoid some of your favorite foods and beverages because you’re afraid of feeling the “zing” of tooth pain? Eating ice cream or drinking your morning cup of coffee shouldn’t be painful. You may be experiencing tooth sensitivity, a condition that affects more than one in eight adults.
What causes sensitive teeth?
To understand what causes sensitive teeth, it’s helpful to know the anatomy of a tooth. The part of your tooth above the gum line has a protective layer of enamel called the crown. Cementum protects the tooth root below the gum line.
Beneath the crown and the cementum is dentin, a less dense material that contains small, hollow tubes. When the enamel or cementum has eroded, heat and cold can travel more easily through the dentin to reach the nerves inside.
Many things can cause the erosion of enamel and cementum, including cavities, older fillings, gum disease, and improper brushing.
In-Office Treatment for Tooth Sensitivity
We offer several treatments to alleviate tooth sensitivity. Choosing the right one for your needs will depend on the cause.
For weakened enamel, we may suggest a fluoride gel treatment to strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce the transmission of hot and cold sensations to the tooth nerves.
A crown, inlay, or bonding may be called for to correct a cracked or chipped tooth, or decay that causes sensitivity.
If your condition is due to gingivitis or periodontal disease, a surgical gum graft will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
If your sensitivity is severe and isn’t correctable by other means, a root canal may be the best option.
How to Alleviate Tooth Sensitivity at Home
You can also do a number of things at home to reduce the discomfort of sensitive teeth.
Brush with desensitizing toothpaste, which is specifically designed for sensitive teeth and contains compounds that help block transmission of sensations from the tooth surface to the nerve.
Don’t brush too aggressively. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle, circular motions to clean your teeth.
If you’ve recently consumed acidic foods and beverages, such as orange juice or tomato sauce, rinse your mouth with water or milk and wait a while before brushing.
Sip through a straw when you drink acidic beverages.
Wear a mouthguard at night to prevent teeth grinding that wears down teeth.
To learn more about tooth sensitivity, or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call!