Many people deal with the issue of sensitive teeth, and it makes drinking and eating hot and cold foods uncomfortable. The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is that the protective outer layers of your teeth have worn away exposing the dentin. Other causes are indicative of a more serious issue. Regardless of the cause, the best place to start treating your sensitive teeth is at the dentist. If there isn’t a serious issue such as a damaged tooth or cavity that requires a dental procedure, your dentist can offer options for treating your sensitive teeth.
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
Sensitive teeth have become such a recognized issue that there are now several varieties of toothpaste designed to alleviate the discomfort of sensitive teeth. Ask your dentist which brand they recommend for your particular sensitivity and remember that you need to keep brushing with the paste for it to maintain its pain-blocking effectiveness.
Brushing twice a day is essential for good oral health, but if you’re not doing it the right way for your sensitive teeth, the pain can worsen. Use a softer toothbrush, don’t scrub your teeth harshly, and brush for at least two minutes to receive the best benefits. When you brush with a hard toothbrush and too vigorously, you’re wearing away enamel and cementum, which protects teeth roots. Consult your dentist at your next visit to learn the best way to brush your sensitive teeth. It’s challenging to re-learn how to brush your teeth, but the benefit of less sensitive teeth is worth it.
Limit acidic drinks and food
Enamel loss is irreversible and contributes to tooth sensitivity so limit your intake of acidic drinks and foods because they wear away enamel. When you do consume acidic foods such as fruit and fruit juices, wait 20 minutes before brushing because acid softens the enamel and makes it more prone to wear during brushing.
Fluoride application and desensitizing
When toothpaste for sensitive teeth isn’t doing the job, talk with your dental professional about a fluoride treatment or application of a bonding resin to sensitive root surfaces. These types of treatments can last from a couple of months to a few years, and your dentist might prescribe fluoride for home use.
End tooth grinding
If you often wake up with a headache or jaw pain, you might be grinding your teeth in your sleep. Tooth grinding, whether intentional or not, wears away enamel and increases tooth sensitivity. Avoid grinding your teeth when awake by relaxing your jaw whenever you discover it clenched from stress or other stimuli. To treat nighttime tooth grinding, consult with your dentist about a mouth guard.
Gum tissue graft
When the cause of sensitivity is gum recession from brushing too hard or gum disease, your dentist may perform a gum tissue graft. During this procedure, a small amount of gum tissue from somewhere else in the mouth receives a surgical attachment to the affected area. Following an effective gum tissue graft, the roots are less exposed which reduces sensitivity.
Teeth sensitivity that leads to severe pain that no other treatment helps may require a more significant treatment such as a root canal. A root canal treats issues in the soft core or dental pulp of the tooth and is a highly successful technique to eliminate sensitivity.
Before undertaking any home treatments for sensitive teeth, consult with your dental professional to avoid making the problem worse. Once you and your dentist find a solution that works, continue to practice good oral health and avoid falling back into bad habits such as brushing too hard or consuming acidic foods. Our professionals understand how frustrating and uncomfortable dealing with sensitive teeth is, and we’re dedicated to working with you to improve your oral health.