Whether you have a slightly sensitive tooth or an entire area that makes you go “ouch” every time you eat something cold, acidic or sweet, this guide is here to tell you there’s no need to put up with it. Bow Lane Dental is going to explain the causes and treatments available to help you stamp out sensitive teeth pain.
What causes sensitive teeth?
These are the primary reasons for that vexing tooth tenderness many of us suffer:
- Dental Procedures – it’s natural to have teeth sensitivity following procedures such as a crown placement, tooth extraction or even an in-depth clean from the hygienist. If however the sensitivity persists, it’s important you have a check-up with your dentist in case you have an infection of some sort or a chipped/cracked tooth you’re not aware of.
- Teeth Grinding – a common habit, grinding teeth is often something people do while sleeping which makes it tricky to tackle. This grinding action can wear out the outer layer of your teeth called enamel, thus exposing the dentin, which contains the hollow canals that lead to the nerve network in your mouth. Ouch.
- Filling Deterioration – over time fillings can weaken and fracture around the edges, leaving tiny crevices that invite enamel damage and acid build-up.
- Gum Disease – this condition causes receding gums, which leave your teeth nerves exposed. Since gums that have receded significantly cannot return to normal again, it’s vital to have regular check-ups so your dentist can nip the problem in the bud.
- Sketchy Dental Hygiene – if you don’t floss daily as well as brush your teeth in the morning and at night right before you go to sleep, plaque builds up which causes both gum disease and enamel damage. Both of these issues, if left unchecked, will leave your teeth nerves exposed.
- Overdoing Brushing – if you go at your teeth with the same gusto as you clean an oven, or use a toothbrush that has overly hard bristles, this can damage the protective enamel covering your teeth. Hence the tenderness when you eat or drink.
- Frequently Eating Acidic Foods – highly acidic foods like most fruits (especially ones like lemon, grapefruit and kiwi) also damage your protective enamel, leaving your nerves exposed.
- Tooth Whitening Products – some people are more sensitive than others to the chemical bleach in many whitening products, while people who already have exposed nerves will experience even higher levels of discomfort. Some whitening products are very acidic which dissolves your teeth making them more sensitive.
- Mouthwashes that Contain Alcohol – those with exposed nerves will find over-the-counter mouth washes that have alcohol and other aggressive chemicals as ingredients aggravating to their sensitivity condition.
Sensitive teeth – treatment solutions
While the main point is to ensure your dental hygiene is good to prevent the enamel decay that leaves your teeth nerves exposed, these are solutions to more specific causes of sensitivity:
- Teeth Grinding – the most common and effective solution to this habit is to wear a fitted mouth guard at night while you sleep. There are a number of different types – ask your dentist to help you find a mouth guard that feels comfortable.
- Filling Deterioration – it’s important to have a check-up at least every six months so your dentist can replace any fillings that have deteriorated with a replacement, such as a white filling.
- Gum Disease – this condition is more common that most people might think. Your dentist can place a sealing liquid on the areas of your teeth where major damage has occurred to stop the tooth sensitivity, and if the condition is advanced they will refer you to a periodontist (gum specialist).
- Overdoing Brushing – make sure to be thorough yet gentle when brushing twice a day, and if in doubt about whether your toothbrush bristles are too hard, ask your dentist.
- Frequently Eating Acidic Foods – it’s important to rinse your mouth with water after eating fruit and other acidic foods so the acid doesn’t go to town on the protective enamel that coats your teeth.
- Mouthwashes that Contain Alcohol – buy alcohol-free products. Neutral fluoride rinses are even better because they help to repair enamel damage.
While Sensodyne is the market leader in toothpaste for sensitive teeth there are lots of toothpastes for sensitive teeth that can be bought over the counter, if you suffer from this condition your dentist can prescribe an even better fix – high volume fluoride toothpaste which helps to repair damaged enamel. The main thing to remember however is this: don’t simply put up with sensitive teeth pain – make sure you visit your dentist if the problem persists because not only is it treatable, it could be a symptom of a more serious dental problem.
Learn more about this topic in our Sensitive Teeth section, or please contact our tooth repair specialists for a consultation appointment.