Sensitive Teeth Can Indicate A Larger Issue
Having Sensitive Teeth can make any meal into a painful experience, especially when eating hot or cold food. Simple acts such as eating ice cream or drinking hot coffee can become a nightmare for someone with sensitive teeth, but there is always hope for repairing dentin hypersensitivity.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity can be a symptom of many underlying problems, but the true cause of sensitive teeth is from the thinning of the enamel layer which exposes the more sensitive dentin layer of the tooth.When the dentin layer is exposed, not only can it feel unpleasant as it is far more susceptible to the chill of cold beverages & the burn of hot food, but it is also substantially more yellow, providing an unwanted color aesthetic to your smile.
Ultimately, anything that erodes the enamel layer of your teeth can lead to hypersensitivity. Some activities that quicken this erosion include:
- Teeth Whitening Treatment. Some teeth whitening treatments use bleaching agents that can cause increased sensitivity in teeth, but this typically only lasts a few days.
- Consuming Highly Acidic Foods and Beverages. The enamel layer can erode quicker than normal when you eat foods such as lemons, limes, kiwi, grapefruit, tomatoes, or pickles.
- Using Mouthwashes Containing Alcohol. Certain mouthwashes contain alcohol and other harsh chemicals that can increase the sensitivity of your teeth when used excessively. Substitute your alcohol mouthwash with one that uses fluoride instead.
- Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard. Brushing parallel to the gum line and using too much force when brushing your teeth both lead to the reduction in enamel, which subsequently leads to dentin hypersensitivity.
- Gum Recession. As we age, our gums naturally recede, exposing the sensitive layers of your teeth more over time. The natural process of gum recession can be accelerated by bad oral hygiene habits & tooth decay.
- Bruxism or Teeth Grinding. Whether intentional or not, grinding your teeth together accelerates the loss of tooth enamel which will eventually expose the dentin layer causing tooth sensitivity.
- Eating Hard Foods. Consuming ice & hard candies can easily break or chip teeth causing the underlying dentin layer to be exposed.
- Sugary Foods. Excessively consuming food & beverages that have sugar will accelerate the breakdown of the enamel tooth layer.
How Can Sensitive Teeth be Treated?
Depending on the cause of your hypersensitivity, the treatment can differ. The best treatments for tooth sensitivity aim to prevent the degradation of the enamel layer and generally involve the promotion of good oral hygiene habits. As with many common dental issues, prevention is the best plan of action, but there are treatments that can reduce the sensitivity of your teeth.
Suggested Home Treatments for Hypersensitivity
- Desensitizing Toothpaste. Certain toothpastes contain chemicals that are designed to protect sensitive teeth by sealing up tubules in the exposed dentin layer. This directly prevents sensitivity by keeping cold/hot substances further away from the nerve of the tooth.
- Brush Your Teeth Softer. Brushing your teeth with too much force can directly scrape the enamel layer right off of your teeth. Brush softly at a 45 degree angle to your gums twice a day. Also, using a soft bristle toothbrush can help with sensitive teeth.
- Avoid Acidic Foods & Beverages. Consuming citrus fruits, soda, and vegetables such as tomatoes & pickles increase the likelihood of suffering from sensitive teeth as they quicken the degradation of the enamel layer.
- Avoid the Use of Tobacco Products. Smoking & chewing tobacco products can cause serious deterioration in your oral health. Tobacco products directly erode tooth enamel and cause gums to recede.
Dental Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity
- Wear a Mouth Guard. If your teeth are being worn down by bruxism or teeth grinding that occurs while you sleep, then your dentist may suggest wearing a mouth guard. This can help prevent the daily wear & tear on your teeth caused by unconscious tooth grinding.
- Fillings & Sealants. If the cause of your sensitivity is from tooth decay or cavities, then the easiest solution may be to fill and seal the exposed area.
- Gum Graft. As we age, our gums naturally recede which can expose the sensitive roots of teeth. In some cases, tissue can be grafted from healthy gums and then used to cover the exposed root surface.
- Fluoride Gel Treatment. Applying a fluoride gel to your teeth can help you quickly repair the enamel layer and reduce sensitivity. Your dentist may also be able to apply a high strength fluoride gel that will strengthen teeth against bacteria and corrosive foods.
- Root Canal. When an extremely sensitive tooth has not responded well to treatment, a root canal may be necessary to correct the issue, but this is generally used as a last solution.
Get Dental Care from An Experienced Oxnard Dentist at Carson & Carson, DDS
Dr. Leroy Carson and Dr. Derek Carson have over 60 years of combined experience treating common dental issues such as tooth sensitivity. Give us a call or contact us using the button below to get treatment for your hypersensitive teeth today.