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Understanding Sensitive Teeth

Are you experiencing a stinging, sharp sensation whenever you eat or drink things that are cold, hot, sweet, or sour? If so, you probably have sensitive teeth and gums. While this is a common problem, it’s also one that is easy to treat.

Having teeth and gums that are sensitive can cause a great deal of discomfort throughout your daily life. Activities such as brushing and flossing your teeth can be painful. You may even feel pain when you breath in cold air. Knowing the causes and treatments for tooth sensitivity can assist you in learning how to manage the symptoms and reverse the problem. With your new knowledge around sensitive teeth, you can once again enjoy the foods and beverages that previously led to discomfort.

Sensitive teeth typically occur when the enamel of the tooth wears down, exposing the tooth’s root. However, tooth sensitivity can also occur from cracked teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, aggressive brushing and receding gums. With all of these conditions, the nerves inside the tooth’s roots are exposed, causing pain and sensitivity. When these roots are exposed to certain sensations, they hit sensitive nerves, leading to sharp feelings of pain.

The exact treatment for your sensitive teeth will vary depending on the underlying causes of your tooth sensitivity. If your sensitivity is caused by exposed dentin and nerves, you may find specially formulated desensitizing toothpaste to be helpful. You may also be given fluoride supplements by your dentist. These will assist in strengthening the enamel of your teeth. If your sensitivity is caused by receding gums, a dental sealant may be applied by your dentist. This creates a barrier that blocks sensations from reaching sensitive nerves. If either of these treatments fails to work, your dentist may recommend that you undergo a root canal procedure to address your dental pulp issues.

The Causes Behind Sensitive Teeth

  1. Brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush wears down enamel. This makes the sensitive nerves within your teeth accessible. Use a soft toothbrush and be sure that you brush the teeth gently.
  2. Acidic foods can lead to an increase in pain. To reduce your symptoms, refrain from eating citrus fruits, pickles, tomatoes and other kinds of acidic foods.
  3. Grinding your teeth while you sleep wears down the enamel so that dentin becomes exposed. This provides bacteria and food access to nerve tissue. Talk to your dentist about receiving a custom night guard.
  4. Many products that contain tooth-whitening ingredients can lead to sensitivity of the teeth. If you think this may be causing your pain, try switching to a different brand.
  5. Alcohol and other ingredients found in mouthwash can lead to sensitivity. Find a neutral mouthwash or cut the mouthwash from your dental hygiene routine.
  6. Gum disease can cause your gums to recede. Your dentist can help address this issue by utilizing a sealant and treating the inflammation in your gums.
  7. Tooth sensitivity can occur after you’ve had a recent dental procedure such as a root canal, extraction or filling. If it doesn’t go away, talk to your dentist so that he or she can rule out an infection.
  8. A cracked or chipped tooth can also lead to sensitivity. You should see your dentist for treatment as soon as you possibly can to prevent severe pain from setting in.
  9. Tooth decay can be found near the edges of tooth fillings. Old fillings can become fractured or begin to leak, and bacteria and acids can break down the enamel of the teeth. In most instances, your dentist can replace the filling and eliminate any sensitivity you may be feeling.

It’s important to seek out help from your dentist when you have sensitive teeth. This is because tooth sensitivity can be caused by serious issues. Your dentist may suggest that you utilize special toothpastes or receive fluoride treatments so that the enamel of your teeth can become stronger.

Treating Sensitive Teeth and Gums

See your dentist in Baltimore on a regular basis to be sure that your dental health is in great shape.

  • Stick with a consistent dental care routine.
  • Utilize a toothbrush with soft bristles and be sure to brush your teeth and gums gently.
  • Use a toothpaste that is designed for sensitive teeth.
  • Try using a fluoride mouthwash.
  • Wear a night guard when you sleep so that you can keep your teeth from grinding.
  • Stay away from acidic foods such as oranges, tomatoes and lemons.

Knowing how to address your sensitive teeth is important. If you’ve been grinding your teeth at night, you may want to visit with your family dentist so that he or she can determine if you should be wearing a night guard at when you sleep. Mouth guards can help avoid tooth fractures and sensitivity.

Another way to avoid sensitive teeth is to stay away from acidic fruits, wine and carbonated drinks. These items can lead to the erosion of tooth enamel. If you do consume these types of foods and beverages, be sure to drink water or milk afterwards. This neutralizes the effect of the acidic items. However, brushing your teeth too soon after consuming these items can lead to more erosion.

Tips for Addressing Sensitive Teeth

While you should always seek out an expert opinion, the following dental care tips can help you with sensitive teeth:

  1. Discover Desensitizing Toothpaste – Using these special toothpastes can prevent sensitivity from hitting the tooth’s nerves. After you’ve used these products a few times, you’ll discover that they prevent pain.
  2. Ask About Fluoride – Applying fluoride to sensitive spots can help to strengthen the enamel. It also fights off future issues with sensitivity.
  3. Find the Remedy at the Roots – If you have tooth sensitivity caused by receded gums, your dentist can perform a gum graft on the root of the tooth. This relieves sensitivity and pain.

While sensitive teeth and gums are common issues, they are treatable and preventable. The best way to keep this issue from setting in is to practice excellent dental care. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, as well as flossing once a day. You should also see your dentist regularly for check-ups.

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