Tips for Treating Tooth Sensitivity
Have you ever been enjoying some ice cream when, suddenly, a wave of pain shoots through your tooth? You’re not alone. Tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, is classified as pain or discomfort in the teeth as a response to certain stimuli, such as hot or cold temperatures. Tooth sensitivity pain ranges from person to person and can be a temporary or chronic condition. For some, it may only affect one tooth, while others may experience it in several teeth. Though tooth sensitivity can be very painful, it’s a fairly treatable condition.
It’s All in the Enamel
Protecting your enamel is a great start to preventing tooth sensitivity. Our enamel acts as a shield that protects the inner nerves and helps your teeth deal with daily chomping. When it’s worn down, the teeth’s nerve endings are exposed, causing pain and discomfort. Food plays a huge role in tooth sensitivity, both as a cause of enamel damage and by exacerbating tooth pain. As a general rule, try to avoid acidic foods and drinks such as soda and sticky candy, and choose to snack on fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, cheese, or green tea. Enamel can also weaken from grinding your teeth over time, though this can usually be avoided with the help of a mouthguard.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
Worn-down enamel isn’t the only cause of tooth sensitivity. Even seemingly harmless daily habits such as overenthusiastic brushing and teeth bleaching can result in tooth sensitivity. Underlying conditions can also cause tooth sensitivity, including:
- Gum Recession: For those over 40, tooth sensitivity could be caused by your gums pulling away from your tooth roots. The roots of the teeth are then left without enamel to protect them, making this area much more sensitive than the rest of your tooth.
- Gum Disease: This can lead to gum recession and, in turn, bare tooth roots. Basically, it’s a painful domino effect that ends with tooth sensitivity. Gum disease is caused by plaque and tartar buildup and is generally preventable. But if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, it may be an indication that you have some form of gum disease.
- Cracked or Chipped Teeth: A severe crack in your tooth can lead clear to the root, leaving the nerve endings vulnerable and you in pain. Even a small crack or chip in your tooth can cause discomfort.
- Tooth Decay: Sudden tooth sensitivity could be a sign of tooth decay or a cavity. Since a cavity is literally a hole in your tooth, affected teeth are exposed to painful stimuli. Tooth decay can linger unnoticed in the crevices of your teeth for some time before you experience any pain or discomfort.
The not-so-terrible part about tooth sensitivity is that most cases can easily be treated by a change in your oral hygiene regimen, though underlying issues of tooth sensitivity may call for more complex treatments. Your dentist will be able to provide you with a treatment that works for you to use daily. This could mean switching to a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth, desensitizing pastes from your dentist, dental sealants or even a mouthguard to protect your teeth from harmful grinding. With issues such as a chipped or cracked tooth, your dentist will most likely be able to just fill in the problem area. More severe cracks or chips may be grounds for a crown or more extensive treatment.
Make Tooth Sensitivity Treatments Simple
Tooth sensitivity isn’t fun. It can affect your daily life and cause pain and discomfort along the way. Fortunately, with the help of a knowledgeable dentist, your tooth sensitivity can usually be remedied quite easily. At Perimeter Dental Group, our dental experts can help you formulate a plan to reduce tooth sensitivity and get you back to feeling your best. Click the button below to schedule an appointment with us today!