What can you do about sensitive teeth?
If you habitually pass on hot or cold beverages because you’re aware that they may cause tooth pain, you may wish to consult your dentist about the possibility that you have sensitive teeth. The remaining things can exacerbate the problem, too, such as sweet and sour taste or cold air. If you are experiencing tooth pain, it is important to determine the cause in order to find an effective solution. There are various factors that can contribute to tooth pain, so it is important to consult with a dentist to identify the source of the problem. Once the cause has been determined, you can work with your dentist to find a treatment plan that will alleviate your symptoms. Possible causes of tooth sensitivity include tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, worn tooth enamel, and exposed tooth roots. Healthy teeth have a crown part consisting of a protective layer of enamel that lies above the gum line. Underneath the gum line lies the layer called cementum. Underneath both enamel and cementum lie dentin. Dentin is far less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum, these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic, or sticky foods to reach the inner nerves and cells of the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. This can cause hypersensitivity.
What causes sensitive teeth, and how can I treat them?
Certain activities, such as brushing, eating, and drinking, may temporarily cause sharp pain in your teeth if you have sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth are the result of tooth enamel that has been worn or exposed tooth roots. Sometimes, however, tooth pain is caused by other factors, such as a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling, or gum disease. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, visit your dentist to identify any underlying causes. Depending on your individual circumstances, your dentist might recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Desensitizing toothpaste: If you have sensitive teeth, there are a few things you can try to help ease the pain. Desensitizing toothpaste is one option that can be effective. You can find these products over-the-counter, but it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist first to see which one might work best for you.
- Fluoride: Your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments to help strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce pain in sensitive areas. The dentist may also suggest the use of prescription fluoride at home, applied via a custom tray.
- Desensitizing or bonding: Sometimes, exposed roots can be treated by applying bonding agent to the sensitive roots. In order to increase the comfort of the treatment, a local anaesthetic might be required.
- Surgical gum graft: If you do not have adequate gum tissue, a little bit of gum tissue can be surgically extracted from elsewhere in your mouth and transplanted to the impacted area. This can help protect against exposed roots and help reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal: If you have sensitive teeth and have not been able to find treatment, your dentist may refer you for a root canal, a procedure used to treat infections in the tooth’s soft center (dental pulp). While root canal therapy might sound substantial, it is considered the most effective strategy for relieving teeth sensitivity.
To avoid sensitive teeth from recurring, brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Brush gently in rounded strokes, rather than vigorous or harsh scrubbing, and avoid using abrasive toothpaste. If you grind your teeth, ask your dentist about a bite guard. Tooth grinding can tear teeth and cause sensitivity. Acidic food and drinks, such as carbonic beverages, citrus fruits, and wine might damage tooth enamel over time. Use a straw if necessary to prevent enamel loss after drinking acidic food and drinks. Be sure to also drink plenty of water after having acidic foods and drinks if the acid in your stomach is neutralized.
Tips for Dealing with Sensitive Teeth
- Use Toothpaste Made for Sensitive Teeth
Toothpaste designed for treating tooth sensitivity can provide symptom relief. Most of these toothpastes contain an ingredient that temporarily fills tiny holes in your enamel and dentin, reducing the amount of exposure your teeth’s sensitive nerves will receive.
- Use Only Soft Toothbrushes
If you’re looking for relief from sensitive teeth, one easy tip is to switch to a softer-bristled toothbrush. Stiff bristles can actually aggravate the condition by wearing down tooth enamel and causing microscopic holes that lead to increased sensitivity. Receding gums can worsen over time, exposing the dentin and nerves. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging the surface of your teeth and preserve your gum health.
- Use a Mouthguard at Night
You may have tooth sensitivity if your teeth have been damaged by grinding them at night. This is called bruxism. If this is something that may bother you, visit your dentist and have the teeth molds taken. You may be recommended a custom mouthguard. This cover will protect your teeth and prevent damage to them as you may grind them at night.
- Have Your Gums Checked by a Dentist
Periodontal disease can lead to exposed tooth roots, which can result in increased sensitivity. When the gum tissue breaks down and moves away from the tooth surface, the un-enameled portions of the teeth (below the gum line) become exposed. This can leave the nerve endings unprotected and lead to discomfort. It’s important to have healthy gums in order to protect your teeth and prevent tooth sensitivity. Be sure to have your dentist examine your gums for any signs of gum disease that may need to be treated.
- Make a Salt Water Mouthwash
Saltwater mouthwashes can help to quickly reduce tooth sensitivity by balancing the pH level inside the mouth and creating an alkaline environment that reduces bacteria growth. Saltwater also has the added benefit of reducing plaque. To relieve sinuses from dryness, mix two teaspoons of salt with one cup of water at room temperature. Use this rinse during both the day and night until sensitivity improves.
- Oil Pulling: Swishing With Coconut Oil
Alleged bacterial overgrowth in the mouth typically causes sensitive teeth. When you swish a liquefied solution of coconut oil around your mouth, it’s called oil pulling. For centuries, it has been used for oral health. Invades bacteria in the mouth and eliminates plaque, dirt, and toxins. Coconut oil can help improve oral health by inhibiting bacterial growth, breaking down plaque, and removing germs and toxins from the gum surface. This can lead to healthier gums and teeth, as well as reduced tooth sensitivity. Additionally, coconut oil can help whiten and brighten teeth over time. In order to improve your oral health, simply melt a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for 20 seconds. Spit it out and rinse with warm water.