If biting into an apple or licking an ice cream cone causes you pain or discomfort, you might have sensitive teeth.
At Dr. Dental, we see with patients with sensitive teeth on a daily basis. This is not a normal sensation, and in most cases, means treatment is necessary.
In a healthy tooth, a layer of enamel protects the crown — the part above the gum line. Under the gum, a layer called cementum protects the root and under both the enamel and the cementum is dentin. When dentin loses enamel or cementum, the tubules inside allow acidic or sticky foods and hot and cold items to reach the nerves inside the tooth, causing sensitivity and pain.
So why does this happen? Sensitivity can strike for a number of reasons. There might be tooth decay (cavities), a fractured tooth, gum disease, worn tooth enamel, exposed root of a tooth or even worn fillings.
The good news is, there are treatments for sensitive teeth! However, the type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. At Dr. Dental, we usually suggest one of the following treatment options:
Desensitizing toothpaste. The simplest of treatments, this type of toothpaste contains compounds that help block painful sensations from the tooth surface to the nerve. Sometimes, these toothpastes can require several applications before the sensitivity is reduced. Be sure to look for toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association.
Fluoride gel. This is a gel that can be applied in-office and can help to strengthen a tooth’s enamel and reduce the painful sensations.
A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to remedy a flaw or decay that is resulting in sensitivity.
Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
Root canal. In extreme cases, a root canal may be needed to alleviate the issue completely.
Additionally, we always recommend a dental cleaning and check-up every six months, since proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing pain caused by sensitive teeth. Call our office if you have any questions or concerns about tooth sensitivity or to schedule an appointment.
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