Your teeth have an important job to do. Without them, you’d have a hard time eating food. When your teeth and gums aren’t healthy, infections can find their way into your bloodstream, causing you to get sick. Aside from wanting to be able to eat the foods you love and be infection-free, you probably don’t want to deal with teeth sensitivity either.
What is Teeth Sensitivity?
One of the most common causes of toothaches is teeth sensitivity. When you feel a sudden, sharp pain or discomfort when you drink something hot or cold, you’re probably experiencing teeth sensitivity. The reason is simple: the underlying layer of your teeth, called dentin, becomes exposed, causing anything that touches it to trigger the nerves in your teeth to respond in pain.
What Causes Teeth Sensitivity?
Not everyone’s pain will be caused by the same thing, but in general, common causes include the following:
- Eating or drinking hot or cold items
- Food or drink that is sweet or acidic
- Exposure to cold air
- Brushing or flossing
- Alcohol-based mouth rinses
What Wears Down My Teeth?
Your teeth don’t become sensitive overnight. Sometimes, there are things you do that can aggravate the problem. That’s because these things wear down your teeth’s enamel, which exposes the dentin. Things such as:
- Grinding your teeth
- Using a hard toothbrush
- Brushing your teeth too hard
- Acid reflux
- Receding gums
- Tooth decay
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Worn down fillings or crowns
- Teeth whitening products
- Toothpaste with baking soda and peroxide
How Can I Prevent Teeth Sensitivity?
There are things you can do at home to help reduce your pain as well as keep it from recurring. Things such as:
- Using a soft toothbrush
- Flossing to help prevent gum loss
- Brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste
- Spreading a thin layer of the desensitizing toothpaste on the sensitive area once daily
- Choosing a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash
- Getting help for teeth grinding or clenching, acid reflux, and other situations that have been known to cause or aggravate teeth sensitivity
- Practicing good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly
- Avoiding acidic foods or drinks, especially soda, wine, and citrus fruits
- Using a straw or rinsing with water afterward to reduce acid levels in your mouth
What If I Need More Help?
Using the suggested techniques at home should bring improvement within a week. But if not, it’s time to see your dentist to determine the reason for your pain. Most dentists will do this during your yearly or twice-yearly cleanings while they are already examining your teeth. Also, they may ask if you have been experiencing any pain lately. Some will order x-rays to determine if there is an underlying issue worth looking at, while others will use their dental tools to poke around for the cause. Either way, your dentist is the best source for the answer.
How Will My Dentist Treat My Teeth Sensitivity?
There are several things your dentist might recommend to handle your pain. They may apply fluoride to the sensitive areas of your teeth, which can help strengthen the enamel, or a bonding resin to the root surface to help with desensitization. Other options for more severe cases include gum grafts, which reduce teeth sensitivity by taking gum tissue from one location and putting it over the exposed area, or a root canal, which eliminates pain by treating the tooth at the core.
No More Teeth Sensitivity
Whether you experience mild teeth sensitivity that you can treat at home or need the help of your dentist, no one should have to live in pain. At Zeal Dentistry, our dentists know healthy teeth. So call us today at 415.792.4771 and get excited about your smile again.