Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem that involves discomfort or pain in teeth when encountering certain substances and temperatures. The pain caused by hot or cold foods could be a sign of a cavity; it’s also common in people who have sensitive teeth. The pain is often sharp and sudden, but it is temporary. Fortunately, sensitive teeth can be treated and the condition can improve.
What causes to Tooth Sensitivity?
In healthy teeth, enamel protects the underlying layer of dentin, which is softer than enamel. Pain and discomfort occur when the dentin, the layer beneath your tooth enamel, is exposed. Dentin is connected to your nerves, so when it comes in contact with certain triggers, you experience pain.
Some people naturally have more sensitive teeth than others due to having thinner enamel. The enamel is the outer layer of the tooth that protects it. In many cases, the tooth’s enamel can be worn down from:
- Brushing your teeth too hard, causing your enamel to wear down;
- Receding gums and gingivitis, which leads to exposure of your roots and dentin;
- Cracked or broken teeth, which cause inflammation and even infection that, can trigger sensitivity;
- Grinding your teeth, known as bruxism, which can damage your enamel enough to expose your dentin;
- Excessive consumption of acidic food and drink or overuse of mouthwash with acids. This can damage your enamel enough that it can’t protect your dentin;
- Teeth whitening can cause sensitivity, though it is usually only temporary;
- Dental procedures, like crown replacement and tooth restoration, can cause temporary tooth sensitivity;
- Sometimes, other conditions can lead to tooth sensitivity. Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), for example, can cause acid to come up from the stomach and esophagus, and may wear down teeth over time. Conditions that cause frequent vomiting — including gastroparesis and bulimia.
How to Treat Tooth Sensitivity?
There are options for resolving tooth sensitivity. Proper diagnosis of the reason for the sensitivity is essential in treating sensitivity. If the reason for the sensitivity is addressed, the treatment chosen will be more successful in decreasing pain.
Eliminating tooth sensitivity may require dietary changes. You can start by avoiding highly acidic foods, which can weaken tooth enamel.
Healthier brushing habits
Switch from a hard-bristled toothbrush to a soft-bristled toothbrush, and don’t brush too vigorously. You can choose toothpaste that’s labeled as being specifically made for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes won’t have any irritating ingredients, and have desensitizing ingredients that help block the discomfort from traveling to the nerve of the tooth. When it comes to mouthwash, choose an alcohol-free mouth rinse, as it will be less irritating to sensitive teeth.
If the desensitizing toothpaste does not decrease your discomfort, your dentist may suggest in- office treatments. A fluoride gel or special desensitizing agents may be applied to the sensitive areas of the affected teeth. When these measures do not correct the problem, your dentist may recommend other treatments, such as a filling, a crown, an inlay or bonding to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. The following are some dental procedures that may reduce tooth sensitivity, according to the American Dental Association:
- Bonding crowns or inlays. These may fix a tooth flaw or decay that is causing sensitivity.
- Fluoride gel or varnish.
- Surgical gum graft. This will protect the root and reduce sensitivity if the gum tissue has eroded from the root.
- Root canal. This is a last-resort treatment for severe tooth sensitivity that has not been helped by other methods.
Dental Excellence Turkey also suggests getting dental sealants applied to the exposed root surface.
For long-term solutions, you need to speak with a dental professional to determine the underlying cause and best treatment plan. They may suggest dental procedures to correct problems or provide better protection of your dentin. If you’re experiencing discomfort due to excessive whitening, you may want to pull back on those treatments. Receding gums can be treated by brushing more gently and maintaining good oral hygiene. In cases of intense sensitivity and discomfort due to severe gum recession, your dentist may recommend using a gum graft. This procedure involves taking tissue from the palate and placing it over the root to protect the tooth.
Wear a mouth guard
You can train yourself to stop clenching or grinding your teeth by being mindful not to do so during the day. Reducing stress and caffeine before bed can also help prevent you from grinding your teeth at night. If this doesn’t work, you can use a mouth guard at night to prevent the grinding from damaging your teeth. You don’t have to live with sensitive teeth. These are just a few of many strategies you can try to reduce sensitivity and pain.
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