We are open - safety is our top priority!
Posted on: October 7, 2021
Understanding Sensitive Teeth
Does pain from your sensitive teeth cause you to enjoy life less? Do you have to avoid your favorite foods and beverages because of tooth pain? Or do you avoid outdoor sports because the cold air makes your teeth hurt? Then you probably have sensitive teeth, but the pain can be easily eliminated so that you can enjoy your life once again.
Tooth sensitivity occurs for many reasons, but the most common is erosion of the enamel. This allows the root and nerve to become exposed, and that’s the culprit for your tooth pain. However, tooth pain can occur from cracked or chipped teeth that allow bacteria inside the tooth, and decay can start. Gingivitis can cause your gums to begin receding from your teeth, which will expose the nerves. Aggressive brushing habits are another culprit for sensitive teeth. All of these causes can be remedied, so make an appointment with your dentist and start treating the cause of your sensitive teeth.
If you have cracked or chipped teeth that allow bacteria to enter, then your dentist can fill your tooth or make a dental crown that will seal the tooth and prevent additional bacteria from entering. If you have gingivitis, your dentist can treat the inflammation that causes it and prevent your gums from receding any further. When treated early, gingivitis is completely curable. When it remains untreated, however, it will escalate into periodontal disease that can cause you to lose all your teeth.
If your brushing habits are too aggressive, you can change that. Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle pressure when you brush. Use a toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride, and you can strengthen your tooth enamel and possibly restore some of the damage. No matter the cause of your sensitive teeth, your dentist can provide insight into the best ways to treat the cause. Don’t ignore sensitive teeth because there could be serious underlying causes that need to be addressed.
What Are the Common Causes and Remedies for Sensitive Teeth?
The major cause of sensitive tooth pain is exposure of the tooth nerve. There are several causes, such as:
- Acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, or anything that’s highly acidic can aggravate your sensitive teeth and cause pain, so try to avoid them.
- Aggressive brushing habits such as using a hard-bristled toothbrush and firm pressure can damage your tooth enamel and irritate your tooth nerves. Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and use a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth and make sure it contains fluoride because that will help strengthen your tooth enamel.
- Alcohol or some other ingredients in mouthwash can irritate sensitive teeth. Don’t stop using mouthwash, but switch to a sensitive-teeth formulation that contains fluoride.
- Bruxism, or tooth grinding, can erode your tooth enamel and expose the nerves. Ask your dentist about a custom mouth guard that will protect your teeth while you sleep. Don’t buy an off-the-shelf nightguard, though, because it won’t fit well, it may fall out, and you won’t wear it.
- Recent dental procedures can increase overall tooth sensitivity, but the pain should dissipate within a few days. If it doesn’t, contact your dentist because you may have an infection.
- Chipped or cracked teeth can allow bacteria inside the tooth and start the decay process. Your dentist can fill the tooth or place a dental crown over it to prevent bacteria from entering the tooth.
- Decay around an old tooth filling can indicate that the filling has failed and needs to be replaced. Seek prompt treatment for a failed filling because the sooner you treat it, the simpler the treatment will be.
- Tooth-whitening ingredients can aggravate sensitive teeth, so switch to a brand that’s formulated for sensitive teeth.
- Receding gums can expose the tooth root and nerves and cause pain.
Since there are several causes of sensitive teeth, it’s prudent to let your dentist determine the actual cause, or you may have more than one cause. A trip to your dentist will yield the fastest and most effective cure for your sensitive teeth. Don’t delay because you may have a serious underlying cause that needs to be addressed.
How Can I Help My Sensitive Teeth?
Several minor changes in your lifestyle habits can result in major changes to your sensitive-tooth pain, such as:
- See your dentist at least once each year. Twice-yearly is better. Your dentist has decades of training and expertise in treating teeth and gums, and they can help keep your teeth their healthiest.
- Don’t skip your dental routine. Dedication to keeping your mouth healthy should be as important as dedication to keeping your body healthy, so don’t skip your daily oral hygiene routine, no matter how rushed or how tired you are.
- Switch to a toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure when you brush.
- Wear a nightguard if you have bruxism.
- Avoid foods and beverages that cause tooth pain. This should be temporary. Once you’ve eliminated the cause of your sensitive teeth, you should be able to resume your normal lifestyle and dietary habits.
- If you eat or drink something that causes tooth pain, then rinse your mouth well with water afterward.
- If you have receding gums due to gum disease, get it treated promptly so that you don’t lose all your teeth.
Sensitive teeth are bothersome and inconvenient, but they can be temporary if you address them with your dentist. In the meantime, avoid activities and foods that cause tooth pain and follow your dentist’s instructions.
Are There Other Things I Can Try to Fix My Sensitive Teeth?
The best dental tips for your sensitive teeth will be from your dentist because they will be tailored to your unique situation and needs. However, in addition to the above, consider the following dental care suggestions:
- Try desensitizing toothpaste, which is different than toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Desensitizing toothpaste shields the nerves rather than changing the substances that reach them. You may need a prescription for it, but within a few usages, you should notice a decrease in your tooth pain.
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride. This will gradually strengthen your tooth enamel, which will lessen your tooth pain. Fluoride can be applied to specific areas of your teeth, to all the surfaces of your teeth, or as a sealant. No matter how it’s applied, it will strengthen your tooth enamel over time, so you’ll experience less pain.
- Talk to your dentist if your tooth pain is from receding gums. A gum graft may be able to cover the exposed nerves and provide pain relief.
Sensitive teeth are annoying, but the pain doesn’t need to be permanent.
Many avenues of pain relief exist, so talk to your dentist about which is the best for your unique needs. With proper dental care and good daily oral hygiene habits, your teeth can last throughout your life, and you’ll never need false teeth or implants.