Sensitive Teeth: Causes, Remedies, And Treatment Options

All About Sensitive Teeth

Did you know that one of the most common patient dental concerns is tooth sensitivity? If you have personally struggled with tooth sensitivity, you probably cringed as you read the above question. Once you have experienced tooth sensitivity, you’d agree that pain in your mouth is never fun!

What Is Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth Sensitivity happens when the enamel that normally protects our teeth is worn away and exposes the underlying surface. The underlying surface is called dentin. Dentin is softer than enamel and doesn’t protect the tooth like enamel does. Tooth sensitivity is often felt as a sharp pain or discomfort. It can be a chronic or temporary problem and it can also affect one tooth or many teeth at a time.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Many different things can cause sensitive teeth. Some people report being sensitive to cold while others are sensitive to hot. Others report that their tooth is sensitive to sweets, acidic foods, or even brushing and flossing. A tooth may be sensitive due to gum tissue recession but it may also be sensitive due to a cavity. If you are experiencing sensitivity, it is always good to let your dentist know. Your dentist can evaluate the sensitivity and make sure that it’s not coming from a cavity or infection. Your dentist can also help you find a remedy for your sensitive teeth.

Remedies For Sensitive Teeth

Treatment for sensitive teeth varies depending on the cause of the sensitivity. Here is a list of options that may be used to help reduce pain related to tooth sensitivity:

1. Fluoride Varnish Application

Fluoride Varnish is a higher concentration of fluoride that can be applied to exposed root surfaces and also to the crown of a tooth. Fluoride helps to strengthen and build up enamel and dentin layers. This is a simple procedure that is done in our dental office.

2. Covering Root Surfaces

If you have a recession and your root surfaces are exposed, you may benefit from covering the root surface as this helps to protect the porous root from exposure to water, air, and other temperature changes. Often this is done by adding a small composite (white filling) to the roots’ exposed surface.

3. Getting A Mouth Guard

Often sensitive teeth can be a result of bruxism (clenching / grinding teeth). An acrylic mouth guard can be custom made for you. This helps to protect your teeth from wear and tear of grinding and which also helps with sensitivity related to bruxism.

4. Get A Root Canal

This is usually a last resort after trying many other remedies. Sometimes a tooth is really aggravated and it won’t respond to any other treatment. In that case, a dentist may recommend a root canal. A root canal is when your dentist removes the soft tissue within your tooth including the nerve and blood supplies, thus ending sensitivity.
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Can Tooth Sensitivity Come And Go?

Yes, don’t be surprised if tooth sensitivity is present one day and then totally gone the next! It could be that you are going through a stressful time and grinding your teeth more than usual. This may create some sensitivity but then after a few weeks the stress passes and so does your grinding habit. Your mouth restores itself and you find that you are no longer experiencing sensitivity. It can happen.

The best thing to do is to be in communication with your dentist. Routine care visits allow your dentist to evaluate your mouth and it also gives you a time to talk with them about any sensitivity you may be feeling. In between routine appointments, please don’t hesitate to call if you notice abnormal sensitivity. It never hurts to have your sensitivity evaluated as sensitivity can also be related to more severe causes such as decay and/or infection. For answers to your sensitivity questions or to schedule your next appointment, please call us or schedule your appointment online.

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