Teeth sensitivity treatment
Sensitive teeth occur when the underlying layer of your teeth — the dentin — becomes exposed as a result of receding gum tissue (the protective blanket that covers the tooth roots). The roots, which are not covered by hard enamel, contain thousands of tiny tubules leading to the tooth’s nerve center (the pulp). These dentinal tubules (or channels) allow the stimuli — for example, the hot, cold, or sweet food — to reach the nerve in your tooth, which results in the pain you feel.
Factors that may lead to sensitive teeth. (click to open)
- Brushing too hard. Over time, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down enamel and cause the dentin to be exposed. It can also cause recession of the gums (the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth).
- Tooth decay near the gum line.
- Recession of the gums. As gums move away from a tooth due to hard brushing or conditions such as periodontal disease, the root surface becomes exposed.
- Gum disease (gingivitis) . Inflamed and sore gum tissue may cause sensitivity due to the loss of supporting ligaments, which exposes the root surface that leads directly to the nerve of the tooth.
- Cracked teeth. Chipped or broken teeth may fill with bacteria from plaque and enter the pulp causing Inflammation.
- Teeth grinding . Grinding or clenching your teeth may wear down the enamel and expose underlying dentin.
- Tooth whitening products.
- Your age. Tooth sensitivity is highest between the ages of 25 and 30.
- Plaque build-up. The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause sensitivity.
- Mouthwash use. Long-term use of some mouthwashes. Some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain acids that can worsen tooth sensitivity if you have exposed dentin (the middle layer of the tooth). The acids further damage the dentin layer of the tooth. If you have dentin sensitivity, ask your dental about the use of a neutral fluoride solution.
- Acidic foods. Regular consumption of foods with a high acid content, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, cola, wine, and tea, can cause enamel erosion.
- Recent routine dental procedures. Sensitivity can occur following teeth cleaning, root planing, crown placement, and tooth restoration. Sensitivity caused by dental procedures is temporary, usually disappearing in four to six weeks.
Steps you can take to prevent tooth sensitivity include. (click to open)
- Maintain good oral hygiene.
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush and brush gently and properly.
- Use desensitizing toothpaste. . Another tip. spread a thin layer of the desensitizing toothpaste on the exposed tooth roots with your finger or a Q-tip before you go to bed and leave it over night.
- Watch what you eat.
- Use fluoridated dental products.
- Avoid teeth grinding. If you grind or clench your teeth, use a mouth guard at night.
- See your dental provider at regular intervals. Get professional tooth cleaning, oral hygiene instructions, and fluoride treatments every six months (or sooner depending on your condition)
If you still have discomfort, talk to your dental provider. There may be some dental procedures that may help reduce sensitivity.
Dental procedures, including severe cases. (click to open)
- Desensitizing toothpaste. After several applications, desensitizing toothpaste can help block pain associated with sensitive teeth.
- Fluoride. Your dental hygienist might apply fluoride to the sensitive areas of your teeth to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce pain.
- Covering exposed root surfaces. If receding gums are the cause of your sensitive teeth, your dental hygienist might apply a sealant to cover the exposed tooth roots.
- Root canal. If your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments aren’t effective, your dental professional might recommend a root canal — a procedure used to treat problems in the tooth’s soft core (dental pulp).