Tooth sensitivity: the root cause and how to deal with it
Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem often characterized by a sharp, temporary pain when teeth come into contact with hot, cold, sweet or acidic substances. Teeth can also be sensitive to pressure. Here’s a guide to help you avoid and treat tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity is often the result of exposed dentin or tooth roots. Normally, gums shield tooth roots and enamel protects the underlying layer of dentin. If these barriers get worn down, however, exposed dentin and tooth roots offer a direct connection between harsh substances and the nerves in your teeth that trigger pain.
Many factors contribute to enamel erosion and gum recession, including:
• Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush
• Cracked teeth and cavities
• Excessive exposure to acidic foods
• Teeth grinding or clenching
• Gingivitis and other periodontal diseases
Tooth sensitivity can also arise after getting a filling or whitening treatment. This discomfort typically dissipates within a few weeks as your teeth recover from the procedure. Sensitivity to biting or chewing after a filling could also indicate that the filling is too high or that your bite needs to be adjusted.
A comprehensive oral hygiene routine is essential to protecting the enamel of your teeth. Gently brush your teeth twice every day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You should also floss daily and schedule a dental exam every six months to monitor your oral health. If you grind your teeth, ask your dentist about getting a tailor-made mouthguard.
Avoid consuming acidic foods and drinks, including soda and citrus fruits. Acidic substances often trigger tooth sensitivity and can contribute to further enamel loss. If you do drink an acidic beverage, use a straw to limit contact with your teeth and rinse your mouth with water afterwards. Limiting your consumption of hot and cold beverages will also help prevent the pain associated with tooth sensitivity.
There are several dental procedures that can reduce or eliminate tooth sensitivity, depending on the source of your discomfort.
To strengthen enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity, a dental professional can apply a fluoride gel or varnish to the affected area. Teeth can also be reinforced with a permanent plastic coating known as a dental sealant. In the case of gum recession, dental bonding resin or a surgical gum graft can be applied to protect exposed tooth roots.
Visit your dentist in Calgary
Any tooth discomfort warrants a checkup. At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, we offer affordable treatment options and a variety of dentistry services. To schedule an appointment at our SE Calgary office, contact us today.