Do you experience tooth sensitivity? Are your teeth sensitive to cold, sweet, or sticky foods? Let’s look at some possible reasons for tooth sensitivity and how to treat it.
How do teeth become sensitive?
Dentin is the inner portion of your tooth. Microscopic tubules filled with nerve endings make up this inner layer. In healthy teeth, enamel covers dentin on the crown portion of your tooth and a material called cementum covers the root of your tooth. When either enamel or cementum is damaged or lost, the dentin becomes exposed. As a result, the nerve endings are also exposed. This exposure makes teeth sensitive.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity:
- Aggressive brushing that wears away enamel and brushes gingiva (gums) away causing gingival recession.
- Erosion due to highly acidic environments such as acid reflux, bulimia, or even acidic foods.
- Tooth decay, failing restorations, cracked or broken teeth exposing dentin
- Gum recession or abfractions due to grinding your teeth at night
- Temporary sensitivity from teeth bleaching or dental procedures
Treating Tooth Sensitivity:
- Consult your dentist- If your sensitivity is a result of tooth decay or a fractured tooth, only a dentist will be able to safely treat this problem.
- Throw out your old toothbrush! Replace it with a soft or extra-soft brush head, ideally on an electric toothbrush. Additionally, make sure you are not brushing too hard.
- Use a sensitive toothpaste with fluoride and/or potassium nitrate. Use it every time you brush and avoid rinsing with water for 30 minutes after you brush for maximum results. We can also dispense a prescription strength toothpaste for sensitivity.
- Ask your dentist for a fluoride varnish treatment! Fluoride varnish acts directly on the tubules to block sensitivity and give immediate relief that can last for months!
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, please call Adams and Cheek Dentistry at (919)866-1360 or click here to request an appointment online.