If you have ever suffered a sudden and sharp pain in your teeth after eating or drinking hot, cold, or acidic food or beverages or when your teeth are exposed to cold air, you likely have sensitive teeth. While this condition is bothersome, there are treatments that will provide relief. Read on to learn more about the most common causes of tooth sensitivity and available solutions.
Most Common Sensitive Teeth Causes
The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is the erosion of the tooth enamel and exposed roots. But, your tooth sensitivity may be caused by a variety of other reasons. The following are a few of the most common.
In an effort to have a whiter smile, people often turn to whitening products. Most of these contain peroxide which will reduce discoloration and surface stains. However, the peroxide that whitens the teeth might also cause nerve irritation and sensitivity.
Brushing Too Hard
Enamel is a protective cover on the teeth that can be damaged by brushing too vigorously or if the toothbrush has hard bristles. Damage to the enamel can cause the dentin to become exposed resulting in sensitivity. In addition to damaging the enamel, vigorous brushing can cause the gums to recede leading to root exposure. This is the reason dentists often recommend brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush.
Regular flossing just like brushing at least twice daily helps to prevent teeth from becoming sensitive. Brushing and flossing prevent the build-up of plaque that can cause gum disease and receding gums.
When tooth enamel is damaged, demineralization occurs. This is when the mineral content of the enamel decreases. Because tooth enamel doesn’t regenerate once it is damaged it cannot be rebuilt. So it is important to prevent damage. The most common cause of demineralization is a diet high in acidic and sugary food and beverages.
Another common cause of enamel damage and sensitive teeth is the unconscious habit of grinding, gnashing or clenching your teeth while awake or asleep. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause wear to the surface of the teeth or even cause chips and cracks.
Diet can play a role in sensitive teeth as well. If you regularly eat or drink food or beverages that have a high acidic content, such as citrus fruits, pickles, or tomatoes you may be causing enamel erosion and an increased chance of suffering from sensitive teeth.
Sensitive Teeth Solutions
The good news is there are a variety of procedures and treatments your dentist can recommend that will help relieve some of the discomfort associated with sensitive teeth.
One procedure your dentist may recommend is a dental sealant. A sealant is a thin coat of resin that is applied to the teeth. While the procedure helps to reduce tooth sensitivity, you must be aware dental sealants are temporary and with time will wear off.
If grinding your teeth has caused sensitivity, your dentist might suggest a night guard that is worn while sleeping. There are a couple of kinds of guards. The first is custom fit to your teeth by the dentist. The second is purchased and formed to the teeth at home. In addition to alleviating tooth sensitivity, nightguards may help to relieve headaches and jaw pain associated with bruxism or tooth grinding.
Another treatment that can reduce tooth sensitivity is a fluoride varnish or gel. During this procedure, the dentist applies an extremely concentrated fluoride coating on the teeth. The fluoride coating helps to strengthen the enamel and dentin.
Tooth sensitivity caused by exposed roots can be treated with a bonding agent. The bonding agent is applied to the exposed surface of the root. Your dentist might recommend a local anesthetic during the procedure. Pain relief occurs quickly and typically the bonding resin will last up to 8 years.
For serious cases of tooth sensitivity where the previous treatments have not brought relief or if the pain is debilitating your dentist might recommend a root canal. In this procedure, the dentist will remove the soft nerve tissue called the dental pulp that is inside the tooth. For patients who have not found sensitivity pain relief from other treatments, a root canal is deemed the best solution.
Now that you have an understanding of some of the causes and solutions for sensitive teeth, it’s time to talk with your dentist about the treatment that’s right for you? The professional dental staff at Weston Dental Office is here to help every patient achieve the highest level of oral health possible and a beautiful smile to share with the world.
Call (416) 247-1928 today to book your appointment!