Matthew Vogel, DMD
More than 3 million people are treated each year for sensitive teeth, which can make simple activities, like drinking a cup of coffee or eating food, extremely painful. Teeth sensitivity happens when the surface of the tooth has been worn away and the roots have been exposed, either due to cavities, chips or cracks in the enamel. If you find yourself experiencing frequently sensitive teeth, you should contact a dentist who can help with treatments – a dentist like Dr. Daniel Reis at Gresham Smiles Designs.
One of the best ways to avoid ending up with sensitive teeth is to keep up your oral health so that the underlying causes do not occur. By making sure to brush twice daily using a soft bristled toothbrush and by using fluoridated toothpaste you can help avoid pain and strengthen sensitive teeth. When you next visit the dentist they may ask to see your brushing techniques, or ask about your oral care habits to see if either of those are perhaps leading to sensitivity issues. A dentist, like Gresham cosmetic dentist Dr. Reis, may also ask if you are suffering from bruxism, or teeth grinding, which occasionally can be a culprit. If that is the cause, then the dentist can suggest a mouthguard when you sleep or another similar device to help you.
Teeth can get sensitive for a variety of reasons, but the main cause is when the dentin that hides the teeth gets exposed, it causes pain. Sometimes this can be from abnormal wear like grinding teeth, discussed above, or when the gum line recedes due to gingivitis or gum disease. Many people feel teeth sensitivity when they eat sugary or sweet foods or those that are highly acidic. Hot and cold temperature changes can also be another frequent cause of pain for those with this condition. This is due to the dentin having a series of pores that go all the way down to the nerves at the center of the teeth. These pores in the dentin are highly affected by changes in heat or cold, and that is what causes the pain.
Paying attention to what you eat and drink when you have sensitive teeth is critical. Foods and drinks that are high in acid, like citrus or pop, can wear down the enamel on your teeth more than other foods. Even items like yogurt or wine are highly acidic, and you should be careful about how much of these types of foods that you ingest. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking high acid foods can also help limit the acid buildup.
Dr. Daniel Reis has a few options to help alleviate your sensitive teeth pain. If the dentist sees that your dentin is exposed, then he or she may decide to put a fluoride wash on your teeth, which will help strengthen the dentin and teeth. If the sensitivity is caused by gingivitis or gum disease, then a deep clean of your teeth with a trained hygienist may be called for. Sometimes fluoride is also applied directly to the teeth in pain for a few minutes in the form of a foam or gel.
The dentist can also bond the sensitive teeth to seal the tooth top and the dentin off, which block contact with nerves causing the pain. In some more acute cases, a root canal may be called for, but only a visit to your dentist will help discover what the best treatment for you is.