Those with sensitive teeth know the struggle of having to deal with being uncomfortable while trying to enjoy their favorite things. Teeth can be sensitive to hot, cold, sweet, or sour. You may have adjusted the way you eat or drink to avoid sensitive areas. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. There are many ways to relieve or alleviate tooth sensitivity at home or with the help of your dentist.
A Variety of Causes
There isn’t a cure all for all causes of tooth sensitivity. The cause of the sensitivity needs to be known in order to have the correct solution. You can’t take a throat lozenge for a headache caused by allergies. The same goes for teeth sensitivity. One remedy may work for one cause, but not another.
Generalized sensitivity can be caused by worn down enamel. When the enamel is gone, nerve endings are exposed. Preventative methods are the best way to keep this from happening or getting worse. To prevent damage, don’t brush too hard and use a soft bristled brush to ensure a good cleaning without damaging the tooth’s surface. Avoid acidic foods and drinks such as soda, sticky candy, and foods with high sugar and carbs that could destroy the enamel. Do not clench your teeth during the day and wear a mouthguard at night if you grind your teeth because this could scrape off the enamel. Don’t use tobacco because this damages the enamel and the gums. If you use whitening treatments, don’t use them often because these could break down the enamel.
If your teeth are already showing sensitivity due to worn down enamel, there are some treatment options available. Your dentist could provide a fluoride treatment that strengthens tooth enamel and reduces transmission of sensations. Using a desensitizing toothpaste at home will help relieve tooth sensitivity because it contains compounds that help block transmission of sensations from the tooth surface to the nerve. This requires several applications to be effective.
If tooth sensitivity isn’t caused by worn down enamel, visiting your dentist is the best option for treatment. Problems with gums are another cause of tooth sensitivity. If you are over 40, your gums shrink naturally and expose roots of the teeth that do not have enamel. Gum disease also causes gums to recede. One way to relieve sensitivity due to receding gums is to apply a bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces that blocks any external sensations from reaching the root. Another treatment option is a surgical gum graft. This grafts gum tissue over the exposed root and allows the root to have the protection of gums instead of a synthetic substance.
Tooth sensitivity could also be caused by a cracked tooth or filling. This could expose the root to any substances that could potentially cause discomfort. You would almost always notice pain from cold food or drinks in this situation. Your dentist could fix this issue with a crown, an inlay, or a bonding procedure to correct the flaw or decay. If the situation has progressed to the core, a root canal may be the best thing option. This procedure is usually the last resort, but is considered the most successful technique for eliminating tooth sensitivity.
If you are not suffering from tooth sensitivity, make sure you take preventative measures to keep your teeth and gums in a healthy condition. If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, there are many options to get the relief you need. Your dentist can help you figure out the root cause of your tooth sensitivity and provide you with the best treatment options. For more information about tooth sensitivity, or to make an appointment, contact the office of Dr. Larry D. Molenda, D.D.S., located in San Marcos, TX.