Sensitive teeth can be the sign of the beginning of different dental ailments, however, if you just noticed it occurring there are some things you can do from the comfort of your own home to ease your tooth sensitivity. Here is what you need to know about sensitive teeth, plus the signs that mean you should make an appointment to have your pain examined by Young Family Dental.
What do Sensitive Teeth Feel Like?
Tooth sensitivity, also known as dentin hypersensitivity, is pain or discomfort in the teeth as a response to certain stimuli, like that of hot or cold temperatures. If you’ve ever felt pain after taking a bite of ice cream or drinking a hot coffee, it was most likely due to teeth sensitivity. While it can be temporary, it can also be chronic for some patients. It can affect one tooth, several teeth, or even all of the teeth in certain patients. The causes and treatments can vary, but most cases of sensitive teeth can be treated with changes in how you care for your teeth at home. Symptoms of sensitive teeth can also include:
- Pain when eating/drinking hot or cold foods/beverages
- Sensitivity to cold air
- Bad breath
- Inflamed gums
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
While some people may be more prone to experiencing sensitive teeth due to the makeup of their enamel, most people experience tooth sensitivity from doing things like:
- Brushing the teeth too hard
- Not using a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Grinding or clenching your teeth at night or when stressed
- Regularly eating or drinking acidic foods and drinks
- Teeth whitening
Additionally, some may experience sensitive teeth due to certain health conditions, like gastroesophageal reflux. This condition causes acid to come up from the stomach and esophagus, and can wear down the teeth over time. Further conditions, like that of bulimia, can also wear down the enamel due to acid and can lead to tooth sensitivity.
Gum recession can also leave parts of the tooth exposed and unprotected, which can lead to hypersensitivity. Other dental health problems like tooth decay, broken teeth, chipped teeth, and worn down fillings or crowns can leave the dentin of the tooth exposed, leading to sensitive tooth pain as well. In these instances, the pain is typically localized to one tooth or part of the mouth, not the majority of teeth.
Treating Sensitive Teeth
If you have a sensitive tooth or teeth that have been bothering you for more than a couple of days, it’s time to visit one of our dentists at Young Family Dental. We will identify the source of your tooth pain and recommend treatments accordingly. Mayo Clinic lists treatments for tooth sensitivity include:
- Desensitizing toothpaste. After several applications, desensitizing toothpaste can sometimes help block pain associated with sensitive teeth. There are a variety of products available over-the-counter. Ask your dentist which product might work best for you.
- Fluoride. Your dentist might apply fluoride to the sensitive areas of your teeth to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce pain. He or she might also suggest the use of prescription fluoride at home, applied via a custom tray.
- Desensitizing or bonding. Occasionally, exposed root surfaces can be treated by applying bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces. A local anesthetic might be needed.
- Surgical gum graft. If your tooth root has lost gum tissue, a small amount of gum tissue can be taken from elsewhere in your mouth and attached to the affected site. This can protect exposed roots and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal. If your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments aren’t effective, your dentist might recommend a root canal — a procedure used to treat problems in the tooth’s softcore (dental pulp). While this might seem like a significant treatment, it’s considered the most successful technique for eliminating tooth sensitivity.
Risks of Sensitive Teeth
If you are having tooth pain and fail to have it looked at by your dentist, you could be risking great damage to your teeth. For example, sometimes cases of sensitive teeth can be due to tooth decay (cavity) in the mouth. If you don’t have a cavity treated, it can result in an infection that can greatly compromise the integrity of your tooth, gums, and surrounding bone structure.
Further, if you don’t treat your pain, you could end up changing the way you eat or even speak by avoiding the use of the tooth that has you in pain.
Make an Appointment with Young Family Dental
If you’re having pain due to a sensitive tooth, make an appointment at one of our Young Family Dental locations today! We want to help you become pain-free and will do all it takes to find out what is causing your pain and determine what the best way to treat it will be.