Have you ever come in from a hot day out, poured yourself a glass of water with ice and found yourself wincing in pain due to how cold it was? Or while brushing have you found the activity simply too painful for your teeth to continue? Chances are you might be experiencing sensitive teeth. There are a number of things that might be causing sensitive teeth and, similarly, there are many possible treatments for the problem.
What Am I Doing Wrong?: Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth
- Gum Disease — If you neglect to properly maintain the health of your gums, then it may lead to sensitive teeth. As the health of your gums deteriorate, your gums may begin to recede, and when this occurs the underlying dentin and roots of the teeth will become more exposed and sensitive to external stimuli such as heat or brushing.
- Brushing Too Hard — Many people make the mistake of thinking that brushing too hard will eliminate more plaque. In actuality, this often leads to destruction of the enamel and a receding gums, exposing the root of the tooth.
- Grinding — If you’re prone to grinding your teeth, it’s likely that you are exposing your teeth to the possibility of hypersensitivity. In addition to the erosion of your teeth by grinding, you are also destroying your tooth enamel when you grind, potentially leaving the dentin unprotected from painful outside sources.
What Can I Do?: Treatment Options
Many solutions exist when it comes to treating hypersensitive teeth:
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene — As always, by practicing good oral hygiene you’ll be slowly repairing your mouth. If you continue to brush and floss twice daily your gums should eventually repair themselves and protect your dentin once again.
- Use a Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth — Most stores carry several brands of toothpastes made for sensitive teeth, you can also ask your dentist to recommend one. These toothpastes contain ingredients designed to desensitize your teeth while brushing, allowing you to practice good dental hygiene without pain. Likewise, use a soft-bristled brush as brushes with hard bristles can irritate and even damage the gums.
- Fluoride Treatment — Talk to your dentist about fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps restore enamel and strengthens teeth, which will decrease their sensitivity over time.
- Get a Root Canal — In severe cases where sensitivity does not improve, consider speaking to your dentist about getting a root canal procedure performed. These procedures will clean out a tooth and replace it with a crown to prevent further irritation and infection.
If you have further questions regarding treatment of sensitive teeth, or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. D’Alfonso, contact the Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today.