Teeth sensitivity is a common condition that affects many people, causing them to experience mild to severe pain when exposed to certain triggers. It can be caused by various factors such as tooth decay, gum disease, enamel erosion, or an exposed root surface. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and treat the discomfort associated with this condition. We will discuss the common causes of tooth sensitivity and provide remedies for its treatment.
What is Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity, also known as dentin hypersensitivity, is a common condition that results in pain or discomfort when ingesting certain foods or beverages. It occurs when a person’s gums and enamel have been worn away and the underlying layer of dentin is exposed. This layer contains microscopic tubules filled with nerve endings that are more sensitive and responsive to the temperature, pressure, and acidic components of food or drink.
What Does Tooth Sensitivity Feel Like?
When experiencing tooth sensitivity, people usually feel a sharp, almost electric-like pain when exposed to certain triggers such as hot or cold food and drinks. Other common triggers include sweet, sour, or acidic foods. The pain may be brief and sudden or it can last for several minutes. It may also manifest itself as a dull ache that lingers over a long period of time.
Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?
1. Brushing Too Hard
Brushing teeth too hard can cause the enamel to wear away over time, leaving the underlying dentin exposed. It can damage and irritate the gums, making them more vulnerable to bacterial infection and inflammation. It is important to brush gently and avoid using a hard-bristled toothbrush.
2. Enamel Erosion
Enamel erosion occurs when the outer layer of enamel has been worn away due to acidic foods and drinks, or grinding teeth during sleep. Acidic beverages such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, and carbonated beverages can weaken the enamel and leave it vulnerable to damage. Grinding your teeth during sleep can also cause enamel erosion.
3. Gum Recession
When people don’t practice good oral hygiene, bacteria can build up in the mouth and create plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gum disease which leads to receding gums. This exposes the tooth root, making it more vulnerable to sensitivity.
4. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth produce acids that break down enamel and dentin, exposing the underlying nerves. It can be caused by poor oral hygiene or eating sugary foods that feed the bacteria in the mouth. Improper brushing techniques can also lead to plaque buildup which promotes acid production and causes further damage to teeth.
5. Cracked Teeth
When a tooth is cracked, the damage may affect both the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth, exposing the underlying nerves and resulting in pain when exposed to hot or cold temperatures. A crack in a tooth can be caused by dental trauma such as biting down on an object too hard or chewing hard foods, or it can be caused by grinding teeth at night.
6. Gum Disease
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious infection of the gums that can cause sensitive teeth. It occurs when bacteria in the mouth form plaque and toxins which irritate the gum tissue and cause it to become inflamed. As the plaque builds up, it can cause pockets around teeth that become infected with bacteria and eventually erode away bone and tissue, exposing nerves and resulting in sensitivity.
Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth
A sensitive teeth home remedy may be all that is needed to reduce symptoms and promote better oral health. Here are some remedies you can use at home:
- Saltwater Rinse: Rinsing your mouth with salt water can help reduce inflammation and irritation caused by gum disease or receding gums. Mix one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and swish the mixture around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
- Desensitizing Toothpaste: There are special kinds of toothpaste available that contain ingredients such as potassium nitrate, fluoride, and strontium chloride which can help reduce sensitivity by blocking the nerve signals to the brain. Brush your teeth twice a day with desensitizing toothpaste for best results.
- Fluoride Gel: Fluoride gel can be applied directly to the affected teeth and helps strengthen the enamel, reducing sensitivity. Ask your dentist about applying a fluoride gel to reduce your symptoms.
- Avoid Acidic Foods: Eating acidic beverages can weaken enamel and make teeth more vulnerable to sensitivity. Avoiding acidic items such as citrus fruits, vinegar, and carbonated beverages can help prevent further enamel erosion.
- Use Soft-Bristled Toothbrush: Using a soft-bristled toothbrush can help reduce irritation to the gums and prevent further enamel erosion. Gently brush your teeth in circular motions for two minutes twice a day for the best results.
Professional Treatment for Sensitive Teeth
In some cases, home remedies may not be enough to reduce tooth sensitivity and professional treatment is needed. Here are some treatments that your dentist can recommend:
1. Root Canal Treatment
In more severe cases of tooth decay or nerve damage, a root canal therapy may be necessary to remove the infected pulp from the affected tooth. This procedure will help relieve pain and sensitivity caused by the decay.
2. Fluoride Varnish
This treatment involves coating the affected tooth with a fluoride varnish which strengthens tooth enamel and helps reduce sensitivity. It is applied directly to the tooth and works to block nerve signals from being transmitted to the brain, reducing pain and discomfort.
Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the tooth surface to help prevent further erosion and sensitivity. They are usually used in cases of deep decay or cavities that have eroded the tooth enamel.
Schedule a Consultation at Artesa Dental Today!
If you’re looking for relief from tooth pain due to sensitive teeth, then schedule a consultation at our dental office today! Our dental professionals will be able to recommend the best course of treatment for your individual needs. We offer comprehensive dental services, including preventive care, restorative treatment, and more. Give us a call today to learn more about our services and get started on your path to a healthier smile!