Sensitive Teeth are a Real Pain


Dr. E Gets to the Root of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be a real pain! Just ask the one in seven people in the U.S. who claim to have some form of tooth sensitivity. It’s no fun when that morning cup of Joe suddenly makes you shudder or your favorite cold beverage causes you to cringe. Fortunately, your dentist can help make your sensitive teeth feel better — and there are also simple things you can do at home to prevent tooth sensitivity from happening in the first place!

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

First, let’s get to the root of what causes tooth sensitivity. There are some common culprits to be aware of in order to keep your smile looking (and feeling) great!

Gum recession that leads to exposed to roots

Poor dental hygiene and/or too many acidic foods/drinks can accelerate tooth decay and gum recession. As the gums recede and enamel erodes, the roots of our teeth become more exposed. As a result, our teeth become more sensitive when we try to brush or enjoy our favorite hot and cold foods and beverages.

Cavities or worn fillings

If left untreated, cavities can lead to tooth pain and sensitivity due to irritation of the vulnerable pulp nerves. Unfortunately, fillings don’t last forever. Old or worn fillings that no longer adequately fit and fill up the sensitive areas of your teeth can “upset” the pulp, leading to heightened sensitivity and pain.

Cracked or chipped tooth

Chew on this…  a cracked or chipped tooth can be more than unsightly; it can also be painful! If severe enough for the crack to reach the underlying nerves, the tooth can become highly sensitive to heat and cold, especially when chewing.  

Too much brushing

Make no mistake – you should always brush and floss regularly! However, brushing too vigorously can be bad for your teeth. Overbrushing can cause gum tissue to shrink back and the roots of your teeth may become exposed. Instead, brush gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste to prevent tooth sensitivity.

Tooth grinding

 Over time, this stress-induced habit leads to the formation of tiny cracks in the teeth that wear down tooth enamel. Along with jaw pain and headaches, tooth grinding inevitably leads to sensitive teeth. If you’re prone to tooth grinding, talk to your dentist about solutions such as utilizing a mouth guard.

Poor Food and Drink Choices

Instead of choosing sodas and sugary juices, opt for water or other healthy options. Over time, acid breaks down tooth enamel and acts as a stimulus for tooth sensitivity. That doesn’t mean you have to give up OJ forever — just remember that moderation is key and definitely try to avoid sweet, acidic foods and beverages if you are experiencing any tooth sensitivity.

Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

Now you understand the underlying causes of sensitive teeth, but the Dr. E Cosmetic & Family Dentistry team also wants you to know what you can do to treat and prevent mild to severe tooth sensitivity. Above all else, DO NOT delay treatment if you are experiencing any form of chronic tooth sensitivity.

Home Remedies

If you start to experience tooth sensitivity, there are some effective techniques you can first try at home to help ease discomfort. For example, you can purchase a desensitizing toothpaste such as Sensodyne, use a salt water rinse twice daily, or seek out other natural desensitizing agents that can soothe the teeth, such as turmeric, green tea and vanilla extract.

Dental Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity

If you are using a soft-bristled brush, have tried eliminating acidic foods and drinks from your diet and you are still experiencing tooth sensitivity after trying the above home remedies, it’s time to consult your dentist. He or she has the experience and skill to alleviate tooth sensitivity using safe and proven dental techniques. Your dentist may first try to apply a series of fluoride treatments to the sensitive areas in an effort to strengthen the tooth enamel. Other treatment options include applying a bonding resin to help restore tooth roots and reverse tooth sensitivity. In more severe cases of sensitive teeth, your dentist may find that it’s necessary to perform a procedure such as a surgical gum graft or root canal in order to restore dental health and provide relief.  

You don’t need to live with tooth sensitivity or dental pain. The Dr. E Cosmetic & Family Dentistry team is here to help and we’re ready to find you the best solution for your smile… contact us today!