Do you pass up certain food or drinks because you know they’ll hurt your teeth? Do you wince when you brush or floss? Does breathing in cold air send a sharp pain through your mouth? If you said yes to any of these things, you probably have sensitive teeth. Is this condition treatable? A dentist discusses the causes of and solutions to sensitive teeth.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Sensitive teeth can be caused by many things, such as:
- Brushing too forcefully. Using too much gusto or a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down the protective layer of tooth enamel and expose microscopic hollow tubes that lead to the nerves. When these tubes are exposed to extreme temperatures, it can cause discomfort.
- Grinding teeth. Teeth grinding, in particular uncontrollable grinding while sleeping, can wear down enamel over time. This can expose the dentin, or the middle layer of the tooth containing the tubes that lead to your nerves.
- Using too much mouthwash. Some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can make teeth more sensitive, especially if your dentin is exposed.
- Having excessive plaque. Not flossing and brushing can cause plaque to build up and wear away the enamel.
- Eating and drinking acidic foods and beverages. Sugary or processed food and drinks contain a high level of acidity, which erodes the outer layer of your tooth much more quickly than non-acidic foods.
How Can Your Dentist Treat Sensitive Teeth?
Talking to your dentist is the first step in reducing your tooth pain. He or she can examine your mouth and decide which treatment option would be best for you. Some include:
- Toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth
- Fluoride gel
- Fillings that cover exposed roots
- Mouthguard to protect teeth if you grind
In serious cases, your dentist might suggest a root canal. That’s why it’s best to report any tooth pain before you have to resort to such an extensive procedure.
How Can You Treat Sensitive Teeth at Home?
There are a few additional small things you can do at home to help alleviate dental discomfort, such as:
- Gently use a soft or ultra-soft bristled toothbrush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss once a day.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Limit smoking.
- After ingesting an acidic food or drink, drink water to balance the acid levels in your mouth.
- Schedule a regular dental appointment every six months. Call more often if your sensitivity persists.
Tooth sensitivity, if left untreated, can often lead to much worse problems down the road. If you’re experiencing any kind of tooth pain, it’s best to contact your dentist. That way, you can get the care you need right away to save your smile and save yourself from pain in the future.
About the Practice
All 5 doctors at Flenniken Family Dentistry in Carlisle, PA are passionate about offering care that exceeds patient expectations. They offer expertise in a wide variety of services, including preventive dentistry to help catch small issues before they become more serious problems. To learn more about how the doctors can help treat your sensitive teeth, click here or call (717)-249-7777.