When you drink hot coffee or eat ice cream, does it make your teeth hurt? Do you find yourself avoiding hot and cold drinks and food because you’re worried about the pain? If so, you may have sensitive teeth. You can try self-care or home remedies to see if it helps ease your pain. Depending on how bad the pain is, you may need to visit a dentist to find out what is causing your tooth sensitivity and discuss treatment options. Don’t worry, most tooth sensitivity can be at least reduced or even completely eliminated fairly easily.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
One possibility is that your tooth enamel, which is a protective layer on the surface of your teeth, has worn away and nerve endings are exposed. This can be caused by brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Eating candy, soda, sugar, and acidic drinks and food can also wear down your enamel over time.
Other reasons for sensitive teeth include:
Gum disease: The gum tissue becomes inflamed and sore, which can lead to sensitivity since nerves in the tooth can become exposed.
Teeth grinding: This can wear away the enamel on your teeth and expose tissue where nerves are stimulated by heat and cold.
Whitening and bleaching the teeth: Use of these products at home may lead to tooth sensitivity, along with using toothpaste with baking soda and peroxide.
Using mouthwash: Some mouthwashes have acids that can damage the tissue in your teeth. Check with your dentist to see if a neutral fluoride wash would be better for your teeth.
A cracked, chipped, or broken tooth: This can become inflamed if the tooth gets filled with bacteria from plaque.
Cavities and worn fillings: These can also cause sensitivity because they can expose nerves.
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How can you treat tooth sensitivity at home?
Depending on what’s causing the sensitivity, you might be able to treat it on your own:
Desensitizing toothpaste: This usually has a compound to block transmission of pain from the surface of the tooth to the nerve. It may take up to several applications before it helps to reduce sensitivity.
Avoid products that might be causing sensitivity: Try stopping the use of tooth whiteners or certain mouthwashes as explained above.
Change your diet: Instead of snacking on junk food, eat fruits and veggies with lots of fiber, or plain yogurt or cheese. These types of food help your mouth to produce saliva, which helps to protect your teeth from acid and bacteria.
Wear a night guard: If you grind your teeth, wear a night guard when you sleep.
If none of these self-care remedies seem to help, schedule a visit with your dentist to see what’s causing the sensitivity.
Can a Dentist Treat Sensitive Teeth?
Your dentist can help reduce your tooth sensitivity. The first thing he or she will do is to eliminate any obvious cause, such as tooth decay, broken or cracked teeth, thin enamel, gum disease or other issues.
After examining your teeth and gums, your dentist may suggest one of these treatments:
Fluoride: A dentist can apply fluoride to where your teeth are sensitive to help strengthen the enamel and lower the pain. In some cases, your dentist may prescribe fluoride you can apply at home with a custom tray.
Bonding resin: If a tooth’s root is exposed, a dentist can apply bonding resin protect it.
Surgical gum graft: If a tooth’s root has a loss of gum tissue, a dentist can remove gum tissue from another part of your mouth and place it into the root.
Root canal: If you’re having severe pain and other treatments aren’t working, you may need to have a root canal. A dentist removes a tooth’s pulp and cleans and seals the inside of the tooth. While many are concerned about getting a root canal, with today’s new surgical methods, most people say that it’s no worse than getting a filling. A root canal is often the best option for getting rid of tooth sensitivity permanently.
Once you’ve completed your treatment, it’s important to:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that’s not abrasive. Instead of brushing harshly, use gentle strokes.
Floss at least once a day.
If you clench or grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard to prevent a tooth fracture and sensitivity.
Visit your dentist every six months. Having regular teeth cleanings, exams, and other dental care is one of the best ways to prevent dental problems or catch them early when treatment is easier and often less expensive.
Do you need a dentist to treat sensitive teeth?
Balle & Associates in Las Vegas offers a wide range of dental care for patients, including the latest procedures for sensitive teeth, CEREC crowns created at their office in minutes, dental implants, and more. To learn more about their services, visit www.balledds.com, visit the contact page, or call Balle & Associates at (702) 803-9892. Balle & Associates dental practice is located at 2801 West Charleston Boulevard, Suite 100, Las Vegas, NV 89102.