Sensitive Teeth: Mean, Causes and Treatments
Have you been avoiding cold food and staying away from hot drinks because it causes pain in your teeth? If this is the case, or your tooth hurts when biting, it might be a good time to pay attention to exactly what the issue could be.
Tooth sensitivity is a common condition and can happen to anyone who isn’t paying close attention to their teeth and oral hygiene.
Our teeth are made up of multiple layers, each a different material. The enamel is the outer layer and is the toughest material in the human body. It serves as a kind of protection for the next two layers of our teeth; the dentin and pulp. If the enamel ends up getting thinner, the dentin is exposed. Dentin makes up the majority of a tooth, and it’s got a whole bunch of microscopic tubules which are full of nerve endings. When the dentin is exposed it can result in our teeth becoming hypersensitive to contact with certain elements. It can make your tooth sensitive to cold, hot, sweet and acidic food and drinks, or even breathing in cold air. If you’re feeling pain when in contact with any of these things, then it’s very likely that the enamel on your teeth has worn down and you have sensitive teeth.
Today we’re going to take a look at the causes of sensitive teeth, how to avoid them, and what you can do to deal with sensitive teeth.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of things, but the good news is that there are a few things you can do to control tooth nerve pain. It’s best to find out what the cause is by visiting your dentist and getting their professional opinion. Let’s take a look at a couple of sensitive teeth causes and you might find one that fits your case.
The type of toothbrush may be a factor in sensitive teeth. The majority of dentists will recommend toothbrushes with soft bristles since they are easier on your gums and can help protect your tooth enamel from long term damage. Brushing too hard with a toothbrush that has tough bristles can wear down your tooth enamel in the long run.
Surprisingly enough, whitening your teeth can occasionally also play into having sensitive teeth. Having nice, white teeth can work to make you feel more comfortable with your appearance, but it’s important to never use teeth whitening products more frequently than recommended by the manufacturer. Make an effort to not use more than one teeth whitening product, and try to focus on keeping your teeth clean through regular brushing and flossing instead.
Eating acidic food and drinking sugary or acidic beverages too often is one of the main triggers of sensitive teeth and should be avoided as much as possible.
If you notice your tooth is sensitive to heat or other elements, it could be in the early stages of a cavity. An exposed tooth root or nerves at the center of the tooth can be a very painful experience.
Your teeth can also become temporarily more sensitive from getting dental work done. It’s not uncommon to experience tooth sensitivity after filling a cavity, but this is not serious and the sensitivity will generally dissipate after about 4 weeks.
Sensitive teeth treatment
So if you’re looking for sensitive teeth treatment there are multiple options, and most dentists have their own favorites which they’ll most likely recommend to you for your specific case. There is no “single solution” that will work the same for every case. It’s essential for the well-being of your teeth that you get the proper diagnosis from your dentist so you can treat your tooth sensitivity properly. When approached properly, you’ll have greater success in decreasing or even eliminating tooth pain that comes from tooth sensitivity.
Some possibilities for sensitive teeth treatment are:
- Applying fluoride gel or varnish to your teeth once a day.
- Getting a surgical gum graft reduces sensitivity and keeps the root of the tooth safe if tissue in the gums has been eroding from the root.
- Having inlays, crowns or bonding done could rid your teeth of decay or fix flaws in your teeth that might be the cause of sensitive teeth.
- If the pain is really intense and there are no other treatments that are helping, then you could opt for a root canal as a last resort to deal with your tooth sensitivity.
How to maintain sensitive teeth
So let’s say you have sensitive teeth and you’re wondering how to maintain them in order to avoid discomfort and pain before you can get to a dentist to deal with the problem.
One great way is through the use of desensitizing toothpaste. You might get a specific recommendation from your dentist, but there are numerous brands you can choose from. Make sure that you’re not using tartar-control toothpaste for your sensitive teeth, but rather fluoridated toothpaste. You can try taking a thin layer of this desensitizing toothpaste and spreading it on any exposed tooth roots before going to sleep.
If you’ve been using a hard-bristled toothbrush then try switching to a soft-bristled one. This will keep you from further wearing down your tooth enamel and will also be easier on your gums.
Try to stay away from food and beverages that are highly acidic that wear down your tooth enamel. The less of these types of food and drink you take in, the longer your enamel will hold out and the less sensitive your teeth will be.
Wash your mouth out with a fluoridated mouthwash every day.
Don’t grind your teeth. If you have trouble with regularly grinding your teeth, whether while asleep or awake, you might want to consider getting yourself a mouth guard to keep your teeth safe.
And, of course, keep up your oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day along with a daily floss. Pay regular visits to your dentist to check that your teeth are in good condition.